Local News

Friday, Apr 19 2013 10:55 AM

More charges of inappropriate touching filed against deputy

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Prosecutors have filed more charges against a Kern County sheriff's deputy accused of inappropriately touching women under the guise of searching them.

Deputy Gabriel Lopez, arrested last week in connection with touching a woman at her Tehachapi residence March 25, was determined to also have inappropriately touched an 18-year-old woman March 26 while investigating a peace disturbance inside her home, according to a Kern County Sheriff's Office news release.

Lopez, 26, advised the victim that he needed to search her for weapons and drugs, the news release said. The victim reported that Lopez then inappropriately touched her.

Prosecutors filed charges Thursday of assault under the color of authority, sexual battery and false imprisonment, the news release said. Lopez is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in the March 25 case on charges of assault by a public officer, false imprisonment and touching a person against their will for sexual arousal, court records show.

In the March 25 incident, the woman reported that Lopez and another deputy arrived at her Tehachapi residence to conduct a burglary investigation. The woman was handcuffed by Lopez and led into another room under the pretext of searching her for weapons, but he inappropriately touched her, including under her clothing, deputies said.

A male suspect in the burglary investigation who was at the residence was arrested and taken to jail by the other deputy, according to deputies. The woman reported Lopez returned to the residence and told her he was conducting a more thorough search.

The woman said the deputy again touched her inappropriately after having her remove her clothing, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Lopez April 8 after detectives with the Kern County Sheriff's Office Sexual Assault and Abuse Investigation Unit conducted an investigation.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood has called Lopez a "rogue deputy" who was only on patrol a little more than two weeks when the alleged assaults occurred.

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