The LA County sheriff’s deputy has been accused of the repeated sexual abuse of three young sisters years after no charges were brought against him in the case of another girl who reported him in 2006, prosecutors and the sisters’ attorney said Wednesday.
In a 33-count indictment, Deputy Sean Essex, 51, was charged with performing lewd acts and oral sex on the sisters, one of whom was under 10 at the time. He was also accused of sexually abusing the fourth girl in 2006, an allegation prosecutors declined to prosecute at the time.
“It is absolutely shocking to us that the county did not do more in 2006 to investigate and bring this horrific offender to justice,” said Spencer Lucas, an attorney for the sisters and their mother all this horrible abuse these poor little girls went through should have stopped and it should never have happened.”
Prosecutors did not immediately say why the bureau previously declined to consider the first case under Dist. atty Steve Cooley. It was unclear whether there was a relationship between the girl who reported Essex in 2006 and the three sisters.
The Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse.
Essex was initially in a romantic relationship with his victims’ mother, Lucas said. According to the indictment, he was living with the girls when he sexually abused two of them.
One of the sisters was under 10 at the time of the sexual acts, prosecutors said, and the other two were under 14.
Essex cared for the woman’s daughters and remained close to them even after splitting from his mother, the family’s lawyer told The Times.
“He would pick the girls up one by one in his LA County sheriff’s squad car, and he would take the girls and abuse them in the squad car,” Lucas said.
Lucas said some of the abuse took place in a sheriff’s department parking lot.
Essex “was like a father figure to my three daughters,” the girls’ mother wrote in an April 13 filing, adding that he had sexually abused her daughters for six years.
The prosecution alleges Essex abused the sisters from 2013 to this year. The latest incident happened on April 3, five days before Essex was arrested, according to prosecutors.
The mother wrote in the filing that a daughter had told her that Essex would try to open her clothes and touch her.
“The respondent would ‘hop’ her, which consisted of her sitting on his lap while he hopped her as he touched her chest and waist,” the woman wrote.
Essex was arrested on April 8, with a judge finding he had been held in custody on suspicion of sexually abusing the three sisters.
“This is one of the most egregious crimes my office has encountered, and it is made even worse when the crime is committed by someone charged with protecting you and our community from harm,” LA County Dist said. atty said George Gascon.
Essex was charged with 18 counts of oral copulation of a child, 12 counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, two counts of ongoing sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14 and one count of possession of material depicting a sexual act involving children.
He was held without bail by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday.
The Sheriff’s Department said on Wednesday that Essex was fired after a 2018 Internal Affairs inquiry, but the county civil servants commission overturned his dismissal and ordered the department to reinstate Essex to his post at the training office.
Essex is now “off duty” and officers “are in the process of withdrawing his salary,” the department said.
When Essex was arrested in April, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was “appalled and saddened” by the allegations.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-10/los-angeles-county-sheriff-deputy-indicted-sexual-abuse-four-underage-girls L.A. County deputy charged with sexually abusing four underage girls