2 former inmates accuse LA sheriff's deputy of sexual assault, file lawsuit

LYNWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Two women came forward to tell their story about how they were sexually assaulted by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy inside the women's jail.

They spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News, and one of the suspected victims said she saved evidence knowing it would be her word against the deputy's.

Outside the walls of the Century Regional Detention Center, there's little in common between two former inmates except for the experiences they claim happened earlier this summer with one particular jail guard.

"It made me feel like pathetic...as an inmate you learn that it's like your word against theirs," one of the women said.

Janet and Jane - fake names used at their request - said they're victims of sexual assault. They allege in a federal civil rights lawsuit that 31-year-old sheriff's Deputy Giancarlo Scotti, a guard of their former jail, is the man who did it.

A video of Scotti, taken from YouTube, had both women positively identifying him.

Jane is in her 20s and said late one night in September that Scotti came by her cell.

"He ended up popping our cell door open. It's nighttime, you know? No other doors are open, everyone is supposed to be asleep," she said.

In the lawsuit, Jane claims Scotti took her to a shower, forced her to give him oral sex, then threatened and raped her. She said after he was done, he went after her cellmate.

"It's one thing to like to go through it, but then to watch someone else go through it, too, you just feel like you can't do anything to help them. Really terrible feeling," Jane said.

Janet told a similar story, but said her guard is up because of the trauma.

"It was stuff that happens that you'd only think happens in the movies," she said.

In that same lawsuit, Janet said she was pregnant when Scotti cornered her in a cell. Janet claims he made her spread her legs open so he could take a look at her body then forced her to get on her knees and give him oral sex.

"He didn't care. He didn't think he was going to get caught," Janet said.

Hours after, Jane said she told a jail staffer about being raped by Scotti, and he was arrested.

"As soon as we became aware of this, we immediately got right on it, brought out the appropriate investigation team. Dedicated a lot of resources because of the egregiousness of the act," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said during a press conference.

But what most people didn't know at the time, Jane said, is that she saved Scotti's semen on a tissue for evidence. Evidence her attorneys said will put Scotti behind bars.

"It's sadly our expectation that the county is going to fight us on this, and it will be a long time until there's any acknowledgment of wrongdoing, let alone affirmative steps to make things right," Erin Darling said.

The sheriff's department said their internal criminal investigations bureau interviewed 150 witnesses before submitting their case to the District Attorney's Office last month.

So far, no charges have been filed against Scotti, who is out on bail.

We reached out to the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the sheriff's office for comment about the lawsuit. But both said they could not comment on pending litigation.
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