On October 27, 2014, a former San Bernardino police officer Jose Jesus Perez, 47, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for forcing prostitutes to have sex with him, while he was on duty. In May of this year, he was convicted of two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of deprivation of rights under color of law for sexual assaults.
In 2011, San Bernardino Police Department’s Vice unit conducted “a citywide anti-prostitution program targeting those seeking to solicit females in violation of PC 647(b).” Perez served in the Vice unit, investigating prostitution. He was charged for assaulting the women during the same year.
Perez blamed his crimes on being a sex addict. In a handwritten letter to U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, Perez said that he began attending weekly Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings after the investigation began.
Prostitutes, whose identities were not released, told investigators that they engaged in the sex acts with Perez out of fear of arrest. One woman testified at trial that Perez forced her to engage in sexual activities with him in his patrol car, while he was in uniform. Another said that Perez lured her to a vacant lot and forced her to have sex with him next to his car and later in motel rooms. A third woman said that Perez, while in uniform, found her stranded in San Bernardino and solicited her to have sex with him.
In separate incidents, Perez encountered two prostitutes while on patrol and took their phone numbers. He then sent sexually explicit text messages and made phone calls, demanding sexual favors. One of the victims “told detectives that prostitutes have a common understanding that they cannot tell a police officer ‘no’ if he requests sex because the officer will make life difficult,” according to the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Heng K. Liv.
Perez previously served as a Los Angeles police officer. He was fired from the San Bernardino Police Department in December 2012, after an internal investigation into the allegations of sex crimes against prostitutes.