STOCKTON (CBS/AP/BCN) — A San Joaquin County Jail correctional officer has been indicted on charges alleging that he sexually assaulted female jail inmates, county prosecutors said Thursday.
Alex Tafoya was arraigned Thursday afternoon on charges including sexual penetration by force, oral copulation by force, false imprisonment by violence, fraud or deceit, and assault by a peace officer, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office in a statement said their office learned of the allegations in early July and investigated them, then forwarded the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review. Sheriff’s officials and prosecutors did not provide any other information about the allegations against Tafoya.
“We must protect women from sexual violence irrespective of their circumstance,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement. “When law enforcement officers violate their oath and authority and abuse members of the community, they will be held accountable.”
Following his arraignment, Tafoya was remanded into custody, sheriff’s officials said.
Tafoya’s indictment by a federal grand jury comes after another officer at the San Joaquin County Jail, Zachary Simmons, was convicted in October of sexually assaulting multiple female inmates.
Simmons, 34, was sentenced to eight years in prison after a jury found him guilty of having raped an inmate in 2015 and committing other sex crimes with two inmates in 2015 and 2018 while he worked at the San Joaquin County Jail.
Simmons was convicted on charges including felony sexual penetration with force or fear, sexual activity with a confined adult in a detention center, and misdemeanor communicating with a prisoner without consent, the district attorney’s Office said.
Simmons had been with the sheriff’s office since 2008. He was placed on administrative leave in late August after officials began investigating allegations against him.
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