Former LASD sheriff's deputy pleads no contest to sex charges involving 4 girls

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Friday, June 7, 2024
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LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy pleaded no contest Friday to sex-related offenses involving four girls and was immediately sentenced to 40 years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Sean Essex, who was a sheriff's deputy for 22 years before his April 2022 arrest, pleaded no contest to three counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 and one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, and admitted that he took advantage of a position of trust and that one of the victims was especially vulnerable, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Essex, now 53, was indicted in August 2022, with the grand jury indictment referring to the girls as "Jane Doe 1," "Jane Doe 2," "Jane Doe 3" and "Jane Doe 4."

The girls were between 7 and 13 at the time of the alleged crimes, the District Attorney's Office said shortly after the grand jury indictment was returned.

One of the victims was abused in 2006, while the other three were abused between 2013 and 2022, according to the District Attorney's Office.

In a statement, District Attorney George Gascón said, "The horrific sexual abuse that Mr. Essex inflicted on these young victims has not only violated his oath as a law enforcement officer to protect and serve the community, but also has left these children with life-long trauma ... The victims have shown tremendous courage in coming forward to speak about their abuse at the hands of Mr. Essex."

Essex was assigned to the sheriff's department's Training Bureau when he was initially arrested in April 2022, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Three of the victims are related to a woman Essex had dated about 20 years earlier, a prosecutor told a judge at an August 2022 hearing in which he requested that Essex be held without bail.

The indictment also included a lewd act charge involving a girl who reported the alleged crime in 2006 in a case the District Attorney's Office said was previously declined by their office.

In a statement released shortly after Essex's sentencing, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the agency was made aware of the allegations in April 2022 and an internal criminal investigation was immediately launched.

Essex was initially arrested in April 2022 by investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and booked on suspicion of one count each of lewd/lascivious acts with a child under 14 years and oral copulation with a child under the age of 14. He was released on bond that day, according to jail records.

He was re-arrested in August 2022 and has remained behind bars since then, jail records show.

He "separated from the department in November 2022," according to the statement from the sheriff's department.

"This individual's egregious actions do not align with the values upheld by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or the dedicated law enforcement professionals who serve our communities with pride every day. The department sets a standard of the utmost ethical, moral and professional conduct for all its personnel. Department members who engage in any misconduct, particularly criminal behavior targeting vulnerable populations, will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the department added in its statement.

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