A deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been charged with the sexual assault of four girls between the ages of 7 and 13 at the time of the alleged attacks, as well as with the 2006 assault of another minor that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office failed to prosecute at the time.
L.A. D.A. George Gascón announced in a press release Wednesday that a grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday against Sean Essex, 51, for 18 counts of oral copulation of a child, 12 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, and one count of possession of material depicting a child sex act.
He is facing 14 25-to-life counts, as well as 18 15-to-life counts.
The indictment was unsealed today, the district attorney’s office said.
“Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma,” Gascón said in his statement. “This is one of the most egregious crimes my office encounters and it is made worse when the crime is committed by someone who has been entrusted to protect them and our community from harm. My office’s Bureau of Victim Services will provide the assistance and resources to the victims in this case to help them in their healing process.”
Essex made his initial court appearance Wednesday morning in Department 100 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, where he pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors argued that he should be detained without bail and a judge agreed. The case is scheduled for a pretrial conference and bail review hearing in Department 109 on September 1.
The charges include accusations from a victim who reported alleged assault by Essex in 2006. But that case “was previously declined by our office,” Gascón said.
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