Christian Heidecker has been accused of engaging in sex acts with female inmates on house arrest as part of an extortion scheme.
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- A Riverside County correctional deputy is accused of engaging in sex acts with female inmates on house arrest as part of an extortion scheme.
Christian Heidecker, 32, turned himself in earlier this month and faces 18 felony charges for engaging in a sexual act without consent as a detention officer, extortion, dissuading a witness and bribery.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, investigators were first notified of the alleged crimes on August 31. They said Heidecker was assigned to the Riverside Alternative Sentencing Program (RASP) at the Coordinated Custody Management Unit in Banning. He has since been placed on administrative leave.
The inmates there are required to wear ankle monitors to complete their court-ordered sentencing out of jail custody at home.
Two women along with their attorneys held a news conference Tuesday morning and spoke out about the alleged sexual abuse.
"There's crime being done inside the jails. It's horrors being done to us," said one woman.
According to attorney Denisse O. Gastélum, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department attempted to keep at least one of the victims quiet.
"They made her sign a 1099-A, a settlement and release agreement, in the exchange for $1,000 so that she kept her mouth shut," said Gastélum.
A statement from the communications director for Riverside County read in part, "... To characterize any pre-litigation settlements as an effort to buy silence is a clear mischaracterization. It is not uncommon to seek settlement prior to litigation to avoid the time and expense for both sides associated with lawsuits."
Attorneys say there are six victims in total. The two women who spoke out Tuesday are still on house arrest.
"Women who might be still in custody, who might be on house arrest, they're human. They should be treated with respect," said Gastelum.
The sheriff's department said it believes there may be additional victims.
"We're here because we'd like other victims to come forward and not to be afraid of the sheriff's department, even though this is very hard," said the second woman who spoke out Tuesday. "It's very scary situation for us."
Eyewitness News reached out to Riverside County officials are still waiting for a response. The sheriff's department said this is an ongoing investigation and said no further details will be released at this time.