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Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty to more than 30 counts of sex crimes involving 4 young girls

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Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Sean Essex was charged with more than 30 counts of sex crimes involving four young girls between the ages of 7 and 13.

The L.A. County district attorney’s office published a news release stating that a grand jury had indicted Essex for 18 counts of oral copulation with a child, 12 counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, two counts of repeated sexual abuse of a child under 14, and one count of possession of child pornography. Essex is facing 14 25-to-life counts and 18 15-to-life counts.

District Attorney George Gascón said, “Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma. 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.”

The charges included allegations made by a victim in 2006. At the time, the DA’s office denied the case.

Tuesday morning, Essex pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The sheriff’s department released a statement on Wednesday detailing the investigation and stating that an internal investigation was launched in 2018 that led to Essex’s termination. However, the Civil Service Commission overturned that decision and demanded that Essex be reinstated. Following the charges this week, the deputy was relieved of duty.

The department stated, “Mr. Sean Essex does not reflect the values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or those of the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who proudly serve our communities each day. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department expects all of its personnel to hold themselves to the highest ethical, moral, and professional standards at all times. Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and fully prosecuted. Society expects peace officers to hold themselves to the highest moral and ethical standards, as does the Sheriff.”

Essex is currently being held without bail. His next hearing is scheduled for September 1.

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