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A History of LAPD Domestic, Sexual, and Child Abuse

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A History of LAPD Domestic, Sexual, and Child Abuse

The purpose of this timeline is to establish a history of abuse committed by LAPD officers, track the responses of LAPD supervisors, and demonstrate that each incident is part of a larger police culture of violence, patriarchy, and sexual abuse that is allowed to exist.

Important to note are the following:

  • The abuse of children and women at the hands of LAPD officers is persistent over time. This timeline examines a segment of time spanning over 4 decades, but if these behaviors are consistent (and we believe they are), there would have been incidents of abuse prior and also occurring after. Each incident is not a moment in time, but a continuation of history.
  • The targets of abuse are varied. Victims include family members, intimate partners, members of the community in an officer’s patrol, youth in a community policing program, or someone calling the police for help.
  • There is a pattern of verbally diminishing the seriousness of rape and abuse within LAPD. In 1976 then Deputy Chief Darryl Gates described the sexual relationships between six officers and sixteen teenage cadets as “no rape, no seduction. There was a lot of agreement.”1 In 2017 Chief Charlie Beck continues the pattern with remarks that accusations of rape between Officer Robert Cain and a 15-year-old youth cadet appear to have been “all consensual, in that there was no force, fear or intimidation used.”2
  • There is a history of sexual abuse within law enforcement youth programs across the country. The systemic abuse of women and children committed by police is not unique to the LAPD cadet program. Abuse within the Explorer program has taken place in 28 different states over the last 40 years.3
  • Many incidents go unreported or are not made public. This is evident in both the 19974 and 20155 Inspector General’s reports which reveal the number of domestic violence charges made against LAPD officers.
  • Supervisors often fail to protect victims. Inaction occurred across decades; despite the rape and molestation of LAPD trainees as young as 14 in earlier youth programs6, in 2017, under Chief Charlie Beck, the LAPD’s youth programs still lack formal rules forbidding officers from being alone with cadets and other minors.7
  • Officers who abuse are often treated with leniency and afforded loopholes within the system. Examples of this include Ronald Barnard, who won a stress pension from the LAPD for his claim that being found guilty of having sex with a teenage Explorer resulted in harassment, which caused him stress.8

Timeline of Incidents

1962: LAPD’s Law Enforcement Explorer Program is established.9

1974: Girls join the Explorer program, as Law Enforcement Explorer Girls (LEEGS). LEEGS assisted cops on patrol and doing desk work. As a reward for their work Hollywood cops began taking the Explorer girls (most of them 15-16 years old) on overnight weekend camping trips.10

1974: Advisor to the program Officer David J. Kalish begins to abuse a 14-year-old Explorer boy. The abuse lasts until 1979 and is not unveiled until 2003, along with evidence of other victims.11

1976: A LEEG complains to LAPD supervisors that the camping trips were “little more than orgies.” An investigation finds that at least six cops had sex with at least sixteen teenage Explorers.12 Officer Michael Casados is suspended for six months when found guilty by a police tribunal of engaging in sexual acts with a 17-year-old female scout.13

1982: Sgt. Leigh B. Schroyer is found guilty of raping a woman while on duty. Schroyer resigns from the LAPD to avoid an internal police board hearing. He is found guilty of rape and sent to jail for 18 months.14

1985: A Sergeant is investigated for raping a woman. His name is not disclosed, but he is removed from field duty following an allegation that he offered a woman a ride, then raped her in his patrol car.15

1986: Veteran officer and repeat offender Michael Casados is arrested for sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl over a five year period. Casados resigns from the LAPD and due to a plea deal, remains free without bail until his hearing in July and was guaranteed not to serve time.16

1986: Officer Al Cunningham is arrested for suspicion of molesting four girls between the ages of 10 and 13 over a four year period. Charges included felony child molestation and rape.17

1987: Officer Doyle John Craig is charged with nine counts of molesting teenage boys, many of whom he meet while on patrol. The charges are dismissed after the testimony of the victims was ruled inadmissible.18

1989: Officer Stanley Tanabe demands to be let into the home of a 14-year-old girl, claiming he heard a scream for help. After the girl’s parents let him in, Tanabe goes to the girl’s bedroom and molests her under the pretense of conducting a search. The family files a complaint, but Tanabe returns to the house four weeks later when the girl’s parents are gone. Tanabe is taken into custody, placed on administrative leave, and later sentenced to two years in jail.19

1992: Officer Garnier Beasley is charged with raping four women while on patrol. Beasley also shoots a woman in the leg when she tried to flee from him during an off-duty encounter.20 While being investigated Beasley is assigned to desk duty, then sent home with pay. Following his arrest, Beasley is suspended without pay.21

1992: In May, Officer Victor Felix Ramos goes to his wife’s place of work to beat and threaten her with his gun. Due to Ramos’s “clean record,” the LAPD does not make counselling mandatory but asks that Ramos hand in his gun for one month. After a month, the gun is returned and Ramos is put back on patrol with no psychological evaluation. On August 12th Officer Ramos uses his department-issued gun to kill his wife, her lover, and himself while his three children, aged 3, 5, and 6, hid in the bedroom.22

1994: Officer Marvin Jackson is arrested for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Explorer youth. Jackson is knowingly HIV positive. Jackson pleads guilty and is sentenced to 52 months in jail. He is fired from the LAPD.23

1996: Sergeant David Louis Navarro is placed on administrative hold in November for conducting searches of girls aged 16-18 and sexually groping them. Seven months later Navarro resigns from the LAPD. He spends 36 days in jail.24

1997: Criminal defense consultant Bob Mullally leaks information to a KCBS reporter regarding confidential files about LAPD domestic violence. The files reveal that from 1990-1993, 79 officers were investigated for beating their intimate partners and family members.25

Out of 85 cases, 75 showed evidence of a crime. In one case, an officer struck his wife so hard her liver ruptured. In another case, an officer abused his wife and repeatedly raped her 14-year-old niece.26 Complaints filed include 61 felony assaults, 35 terrorist threats, 28 assaults with a deadly weapon, 20 gun-brandishing incidents, 13 child-abuse complaints, and six rapes. No officers were arrested or prosecuted, and while 4 officers were fired and 19 were suspended, almost one third of officers were eventually promoted.27

Following the leak, the Feminist Majority Foundation and its National Center for Women and Policing successfully pushes for an investigation of LAPD practices involving police officers guilty of domestic abuse.28 In the resulting report, Inspector General Katherine Mader examines 227 cases of domestic violence committed by officers from 1990-1997 and finds that “many of the investigations lacked objectivity or were otherwise flawed or skewed.”29

In response the IG’s report, in August 1997 a Domestic Violence Unit is formed as an arm of the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division. Within seven months, six LAPD officers are arrested as a result of the unit’s investigations.

1997: Officer John M. Rosales is accused of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old Explorer youth and inappropriately touching two others, aged 14 and 16. Rosales is placed on administrative leave with pay.30In the resulting investigation, Police Chief Bernard C. Parks reveals there are 95 allegations against eight officers, with three female victims.

Rosales is implicated with committing statutory rape against one youth and sexually harassing two others. Seven other officers failed to provide adequate supervision and committed “unidentified administrative breaches.”31

1997: The 17-year-old former Explorer scout abused by Rosales is awarded $1.4 M in a suit against the City of Los Angeles for “failing to exercise proper supervision over Rosales and the Explorer Scout program.” The LAPD notes that Rosales is no longer with the department.32

2002: In April Officer Joseph Evan Robinson is relieved of duty after raping three women within six weeks while on duty. Robinson maintained his innocence but was sentenced to life in prison.33

2003: A lawsuit is brought by a former Explorer scout charging that Deputy Chief David Kalish began sexually abusing him when he was 14 years old, and continued from 1974-1979.34 A five-month investigation of Kalish reveals similar accounts of sexual abuse from an additional five youth, all of whom were enrolled in the LAPD’s Explorer program in the 1970s.35

2005: Officer George Stan, an LAPD veteran who ran a San Fernando Valley Explorer program for a year, is arrested for multiple charges of sex acts and sending harmful material to an Explorer applicant. Stan’s acquaintance with the applicant began when the boy was 12.36

The resulting investigation found that Stan molested seven minors, two of whom were involved in the Explorer program. Stan retired from the LAPD following his arrest and was sentenced to 11 years 4 months in jail.37 Speaking on behalf of the department, Lt. Paul Vernon noted that Stan’s arrest would not alter LAPD’s commitment to the Explorer program. “These kinds of incidents can happen in any organization — in anything dedicated to children: youth sports, churches, synagogues.”38

2005: Officer Jeffrey Sandwell is arrested for the forcible rape of a 17-year-old girl in his neighborhood. Sandwell is part of the Neighborhood Watch program, whereby his home is proclaimed a “safe haven.” Sandwell is held for five days and additional women came forward with claims of assault. Sandwell is released when the D. A. decides not to press charges.39

2005: Off-duty Officer Ralph Cameron Lakin is arrested for covertly taking sexually suggestive pictures of girls as young as 4 years old as they walked around a local festival.40 Nine months later Lakin retires from his job reviewing excessive forces cases at LAPD and takes a plea deal allowing him to avoid charges of a sex-crime. He is sentenced to probation and community service.41

2005: In July Officer Hector Villalta is arrested for forcibly raping a woman in his home while he is off-duty. It is not clear if Villalta was ever charged.42

2008: A video of the LAPD’s Juvenile Impact Program (JIP) is made public. The JIP is described as “an intervention, boot-camp style program for at-risk youth.” While originally for youth aged 12-17, over time the age limit dropped to 9-15 year olds, “so we can intervene at an earlier age.”43 44 In the video (no longer available on You Tube), children as young as nine are made to roll through mud as an officer shouts at them and sprays them with a hose.45

2008: In March, Officer Russell Mecano is arrested for solicitation of sex while on duty. The charge stemmed from Mecano’s encounter the previous October with a houseless woman who was 18 or 19 years old. Two months later, an 18 year old reports that Mecano sexually assaulted her while he was on duty. Mecano is sentenced in 2011 to 8½ years in jail for sexual assault and solicitation of sex.46

2008: In December Officer Eduardo Bermudez is arrested for attempted rape following a sanctioned LAPD Pacific area holiday party and an unofficial “after party,” Bermudez is reportedly off duty when he attempts to rape a fellow officer. He is placed on paid home leave during the investigation.47

2009: In December the LAPD cuts ties with the Explorer’s Program, which is a Learning for Life subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. It transitions to a program run entirely by the LAPD, known today as the Cadet Program. The reason given is the LAPD’s disagreement with The Boy Scout’s policies, which are discriminatory with regard to sexual orientation and religion.48

2010: LAPD officers Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols are accused of forcing a women to engage in sex almost a year prior. The claim is dropped when, according to the warrant, the woman who made the statement cannot be located. The investigation would be picked up again in a year but would go nowhere until 2013, when the victim files a lawsuit.49

2011: In November, Detective Oris Pace, a supervisor with the Los Angeles Police Commission Investigation Division, is investigated following complaints from local massage parlor workers. The investigation reveals that over the course of a year while on duty, Pace forced three women to undress so he could grope them. Pace pleads no contest and resigns from the LAPD. He is sentenced to six months in jail.50

2012: A video of LAPD officers Ismael Gonzalez and Alex Nava running a boot camp for young teens surfaces online. The video shows armed officers in uniform screaming at youth and taunting them on a playground. Most kids appear to be early teenagers but at least one child appears to be about 6 years old.51 As of June 2017, Officer Alejandro Nava is still listed on the LAPD’s website as the contact person for the LAPD’s JIP.52

2012: Officer Elmer “Alex” Peraza, a former Marine, is accused by his ex-wife of domestic abuse and assault with a firearm. Peraza and his ex-wife had been married for eight and a half years before their divorce. In the last three years of their marriage Peraza’s ex-wife reports she was verbally abused, hit, choked, strangled, and beaten, and that her elderly mother and sister were also the targets of abuse.53

2013: Officers Nichols and Valenzuela are relieved of their duties but remain employed as they are investigated for the sexual assaults of four women over five years. Many of the assaults occurred while the officers were on duty, armed, and in uniform. Some took place inside a police vehicle.54

2013: Officer Miguel Angel Schiappapietra is found guilty of luring his neighbor’s two children, ages 5 and 8, into his bedroom, where he committed a lewd act on the younger girl and attempted a lewd act on her sister. Schiappapietra is sentenced to three years in jail and resigns from the LAPD.55

2013: A 27-year old women is sent to hospital after Officers David Shin and Jin Oh placed her in handcuffs, put her in the back of their vehicle, then drove around while one officer sexually assaulted her as the other drove the car. 56 The assault victim was awarded $3.5M for damages but the officers were never charged.57

2014: Officer Daniel Hun Chun is arrested for battery of a young teenage relative who is left with welts and bruises on his shoulders and back after being hit by Chun repeatedly. Chun stated that the beating was due to “misbehavior and poor grades.” Chun pled guilty to battery. He is placed on leave with the LAPD and never serves any time in jail.58

2014: LAPD detective of sexual assault crimes Dennis Derr is found dead in his car after committing suicide. Two adult relatives of Derr’s had recently accused him of sexual abuse that occurred when they were teenagers. In one case the abuse was sustained for numerous years.59

2014: Following an endorsement of Peraza by Police Chief Charlie Beck, LAPD’s Internal Affairs cancels the Board of Rights termination hearing against Officer Peraza for the physical abuse of his ex-wife, her mother, and her sister. The LAPD instead promotes Peraza’s ex-wife (who is also an LAPD officer) and gives Peraza a five-day suspension.60

2014: LAPD Detective Michael Brambles is arrested for a series of robberies, two rapes, and assault with a deadly weapon.61 One of the robberies involves a 16-year-old girl whom Brambles robbed of her school backpack at gunpoint. Brambles is sentenced to 102 years in jail.62

2015: In October Cadet Youth Services Officer Montes De Oca is investigated for sending lewd messages and photos to a 16-year old recruit. De Oca is sent home with pay63 then arrested ten months later and charged with the distribution of harmful matter to a juvenile, destroying evidence, and “child annoyance,” or the abnormal sexual interest of a minor. It is not clear what discipline or sentencing De Oca receives. 64

2015: The Officer of the Inspector General releases a review of the biased policing complaints made and investigated from 2012-2014. The data reveals that of 269 alleged domestic violence complaints, 86 were sustained.65 Compared to the IG’s 1997 investigation, the rate at which domestic violence is being reported against officers has more than doubled.66

2017: LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor is charged with domestic violence and misdemeanor battery against two women in Orange County.67

2017: In June, Officer Robert Cain is accused with statutory rape of a 15-year-old cadet stationed at the 77th Street Division.68 On July 20th, Cain is charged with sexual assault.69

Police Youth Programs that were Disbanded or Suspended

following charges of sexual assault and/or harassment of youth or subordinate officers:

  • Signal Hill, CA disbanded Explorer post in 198370
  • Long Beach, CA disbanded program in the 1980s, then re-formed in 1997, and has since been under investigation for numerous instances of abuse71
  • Irwindale, CA disbanded program in 201472
  • Fox Lake, IL disbanded program in 201573
  • Louisville, KY suspended program as of April 2017 as they investigate allegations of sexual abuse74

1 Jonathan Kaminsky, Hands-On Experience,, (November 30, 2011).

2 Antonie Boessenkool, LAPD officer arrested, accused of sex with underage cadet,, (June 22, 2017).

3 Andrew Wolfson, Jess Hazel, with credit to Jonathan Kaminsky, A Trail of Abuse Database,, (Retrieved June 29, 2017).

4 Human Rights Watch, Shielded From Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States,, (Retrieved July 22 2017).

5 Officer of the Inspector General, Alexander Bustamante, Review of Biased Policing Complaints,, (December 15, 2015).

6 Samuel Walker, Dawn Irlbeck, The Sexual Abuse of Teenage Girls: A 2003 Update on “Driving While Female,”, (June 2003).

7 James Queally, Protect Them Like Your Own: At cadet program, LAPD Chief Beck defends program amid scandal,, (June 24, 2017).

8 Claire Spiegel and Robert Welkos, Young Officers Retire : Stress Pensions: LAPD Cases Grow,, (February 3, 1985).

9 Los Angeles Community Policing, Explorer Program,

10 Jonathan Kaminsky, Hands-On Experience,, (November 30, 2011).

11 Jean Guccione, LA, Scouts Immune from Abuse Suit,, (July 28, 2004).

12 Kaminsky, Hands-On Experience.

13 Los Angeles Times, Ex-Officer Pleads No Contest in Molestation Case,, (June 17, 1986).

14 Philip Hager, State Justices Asked to Find City Liable in Rape by LAPD Officer,, (February 16, 1985).

15 Patricia Klein, In Patrol Car: Woman Reports Rape by Officer,, (February 16, 1985).

16 Los Angeles Times, Ex-Officer Pleads No Contest in Molestation Case

17 Stephanie Chavez, Killed Suspected Molester Previously : Officer Pleads Innocent in Sex Case,, (May 2nd, 1986).

18 Jerry Hicks, Nine Child Molestation Counts Against Police Officer Dropped,, (May 29, 1987).

19 James Rainey and Bettina Boxall, Council Awards Girl $4.5 Million : Police: Teen-ager was molested by officer in 1989. Settlement brings renewed calls for better LAPD training. City also awards $125,000 in another 1989 case,, (April 30, 1991).

20 Orlando Sentinel, Police Officer Charged with Attacking 5 Women,, (Jan 17th, 1992).

21 Sheryl Stolberg, LAPD Officer Held in Rapes of Four Women, (Jan 15, 1992).

22 Steve Ryfle, City of L.A. Is Ordered to Pay Widow Damages,, (May 19, 1995).

23 Orlando Sentinel, Ex-officer With Aids Virus In Prison For Attack On Teen,, (Feb 5 1995).

24 Andrew Blankstein, Sergeant Pleads No Contest to Fondling Teenage Girls,, (July 3, 1997).

28 Feminist Wire, LAPD Domestic Violence Whistle Blower Serves Time in Prison

29 Human Rights Watch, Shielded From Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States,, (retrieved July 1, 2017).

31 Matt Lait, Misconduct Alleged In Police Scout Program., (April 8, 1998).

32 Los Angeles Times, County Settles Suit With Former Explorer Scout,, (November 11, 1999).

33 Steve Berry, Ex-LAPD Officer Gets Life for Rapes,, (April 25, 2003).

34 Walker, The Sexual Abuse of Teenage Girls: A 2003 Update on “Driving While Female.”

35 Jean Guccione, Suit Alleges Repeated Sex Abuse by Kalish,, (April 8, 2003).

36 Jill Leovy, Richard Winton, Officer Arrested in Child Sex Case,, (July 9 2005)

37 Simi Valley Acorn, Man Pleads Guilty in Sexual Assault,, (May 5, 2006).

38 Leovy, Officer Arrested in Child Sex Case

39, Officer Jeffrey Sandwell LAPD in 2006,, (December 19, 2006).

40 Norberto Santana Jr. and Erika I. Ritchie, Garden Grove police probe LAPD officer over photos,, (June 3, 2017).

41 Larry Welborn, Ex-LAPD officer pleased guilty to taking sexual photos of girls,, (Jan 13, 2009).

42 Richard Winton, Rookie LAPD Officer accused of sexual assault,, (July 11, 2007).

43 Los Angeles Community Policing, Juvenile Impact Division,, (Retrieved June 30 2017).

44 LAPD Juvenile Impact Video, You Tube, LAPD Juvenile Impact Video_WMV9_320x240.wmv, (June 30, 2010).

45 Jean Reynolds, Fighting Juvenile Crime,, (August 8, 2012).

46 Los Angeles Times, LA Now, LAPD officer sentenced to prison for sexual assaulting one woman, soliciting sex from another,, (May 26, 2011).

47 Vince Echavaria, LAPD Pacific Officer Arrested for Alleged Attempted Rape at Party,, (December 11, 2008).

48 Rick Orlov, LAPD on Course to Take Over Explorer Program,, (December 22, 2009).

49 Joel Rubin, Jack Leonard, LAPD Officers Allegedly Forced Women to Have Sex with Them,, (January 3, 2013).

50 Veronica Rocha, LAPD Detective gets jail, must resign for fondling massage workers,, (August 8, 2014).

51 Dakota Smith, Internal Affairs investigating 2 LAPD officers running military-style ‘boot camp’ for kids,, (August 2, 2012).

52 LAPD, Juvenile Impact Program,, (Retrieved June 30, 2017).

53 Jasmyn Cannick, Chief Beck Stops Firing of Cop Who Abused Wife,, (August 12, 2014).

54 Rubin, LAPD Officers Allegedly Forced Women to Have Sex with Them,, (January 4th 2014)

55 Jill Crowan, LAPD Officer who Abused Daughter’s Neighbor gets 3 Year Term,, (September 6, 2013)

56 Joseph Serna, Handcuffed woman who fell from LAPD car sues, says officer assaulted her,, (March 17, 2015).

57 Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles to pay $3.5 million to settle lawsuit filed by woman who fell from LAPD cruiser,, (February 9, 2017).

58 OC Register, City News Service, LAPD officer sentenced to community service for child abuse at Fullerton home,, (March 5, 2015).

59 Michael Larkin, LAPD Sexual Assault Detective Committed Suicide Over Child Molestation Allegations: Report,, (December 6, 2014)

60 Cannick, Chief Beck Stops Firing of Cop Who Abused Wife,, (August 12, 2014).

61 Paul Lieberman and Peter Y. Hong, Ex-Officer Convicted in Rapes, Robberies,, (July 12, 1996).

62 The Free Library. S.v. LAPD RETIREE SENTENCED TO 102 YEARS..”,, (Retrieved July 4, 2017).

63 LAPD News Release, LAPD Arrest One of Their Own for Distribution of Harmful Matter to a Juvenile NR16260an,, (August 23, 2016)

64 Matt Hamilton, LAPD officer convicted of sending ‘harmful’ texts to teen, acquitted of child annoyance charges,, (Jan 18, 2017).

65 Officer of the Inspector General, Alexander Bustamante, Review of Biased Policing Complaints,, (December 15, 2015).

66 National Center for Women and Policing, Police Family Violence Fact Sheet

67 Kate Mather, LAPD officer at center of high-profile shooting in Venice also faces domestic violence charges,, (May 1, 2017)

68 James Queally, Richard Winton, Weapons cache seized at home of LAPD officer accused of having sex with teenage cadet, sources say,, (June 23, 2017).

69James Queally, LAPD Officer at center of cadet scandal charged with sexual assault of 15-year-old girl,, (July 21, 2017).

70 Daryl Kelley, Sex Charges Result in Stricter Explorer Rules,, (May 3, 1987).

71Tracy Manzer, LBPD Probes Cop in Alleged Teen Affair,, (06/11/2007).

72 Brian Day, Irwindale Pays $2.75 Million Settlement to Girl molested by ex-police officer,, (April 21, 2017).

73Meg Wagner, Fox Lake cop had personnel file full of complaints,, (November 6th 2015).

74 Andrew Wolfson, Leader of Louisville police’s Explorer program asks out of sex-abuse suit,, (April 19, 2017).