Two LAPD officers were charged with raping and sexually assaulting several women while on duty.
Officers Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols face more than a dozen felony charges that stem from allegations that they preyed on four women from 2008 to 2011, both together and on their own, says the Los Angeles Times. They reportedly forced the women to have sex with them as well as perform oral sex on them.
Valenzuela, 43, and Nichols, 44, both face life in prison for the alleged crimes.
They were arrested by detectives from their own department and are being held on more than $3.5 million bail.
"It is a wonderful development, although it is years overdue," attorney Dennis Chang, who represents two of the women, said. "It’s a ray of light that these women will finally see some justice.”
The investigation, Chief Charlie Beck said, was complicated by the fact that both officers targeted women who were sometimes "reluctant" to take action.
"When we got the district attorney’s assurance that she would file, we went out and physically tracked down these — and I use the term loosely — officers and put them in handcuffs," Beck said.
The women, who ranged in age from 19 to 34 years old, were reportedly arrested on different occasions for drug-related offenses, according to CBS Los Angeles.
"Valenzuela would show up at my client’s house, drunk, 3 o’clock in the morning (and say) ‘You haven’t done enough for me.’ He’d actually come in and sexually assault her," Chang said.
Valenzuela denied the allegations, while Nichols "took the 5th Amendment straight away through and refused to answer any questions," according to Chang.
Both officers were relieved from duty without pay but are still technically with the LAPD.
"These two officers have disgraced themselves, they’ve disgraced this badge, they’ve disgraced their oath of office," Beck said. "I am extremely troubled by what they’ve done.”