Los Angeles police officers charged with raping women after arrest

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Two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers have been charged with repeatedly raping four young women while they were on duty, prosecutors say.

James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, are alleged to have carried out their series of assaults between December 2008 and March 2011 while they worked as partners. The sexual assaults are alleged to have been carried out in various locations, including in their police vehicle.

According to prosecutors, the sexual assaults targeted four women aged 19, 24, 25 and 34 after they were arrested by the officers for narcotics-related offenses. Most of the sexual assaults were carried out while the officers were on duty, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Nichols and Valenzuela have been charged with multiple counts each of sexual assaults, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force. In addition, Valenzuela has been charged with one count of assault with a firearm for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims.

If convicted, the officers could each face up to life in state prison.

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