Former Inmate Suing Three L.A. Deputies For Sexual Abuse

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A former Twin Towers Correctional Facility inmate is seeking $3 million in damages, mostly for emotional suffering he incurred during what he alleges was a sexual assault by three L.A. County sheriff’s deputies.

The accusation and civil suit stem from a 2007 incident in which Alejandro Franco, then 23, received a fresh uniform from the jailhouse laundry, then went to stand in line for medication. He noticed a bad odor coming from his pants, and asked to have them replaced. Former Deputy Kris Cordova agreed to let Franco get a replacement pair of pants, but drew the line a little later, when the inmate said he detected the same foul smell from his freshly laundered shirt.

“You trying to get over on me,” Cordova said, according to Franco’s recent testimony before a federal court jury. Franco swore at the deputy, but returned to his cell, considering the matter finished.

Later that night, however, Franco claims that Cordova and two other deputies targeted his cell for a random search, and took him to an empty rec room after cuffing him. There, Cordova allegedly asked why Franco had shown disrespect by swearing in front of other inmates. Franco also testified that Deputy Davie Chang punched him in the face. Chang and Cordova continued to hit him, while a third deputy, Anthony Pimentel, stood back and activated his Taser stun gun.

Franco said that the three deputies threw him onto his stomach, pulled down his pants, and used pepper spray on his genitals and anus, causing an intense and painful burning sensation that lasted throughout the night.

“I felt hollow inside,” said Franco, speaking of the pepper-spray assault, which he considered a sexual assault. “I felt as if I wasn’t there.

All three deputies took the stand in front of the federal jury, but pleaded the 5th Amendment to everything they were asked, drawing scorn from the plaintiff’s attorney.

“Cops tell the truth,” said Arnoldo Casillas. “Cops don’t plead the 5th.”

Attorneys for the deputies, however, argued that Franco experienced a dysfunctional childhood and was a drug abuser, leading to problems with depression and antisocial behavior in jail. They say that there is not sufficient evidence to prove the allegations against them.

Chang and Pimental have been relieved of duty with pay, while Cordova is no longer with the department. Felony charges of assault by a public officer are being considered against the three men, according to a spokesperson from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

 

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