A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been charged with over 30 counts of sex crimes involving children,.
"Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma. This is one of the most egregious crimes my office encounters and it is made worse when the crime is committed by someone who has been entrusted to protect them and our community from harm," District Attorney Gascón said.
On Tuesday, Deputy Sean Essex was indicted by a grand jury on 18 counts of oral sex acts with a child, 12 counts of lewd acts on a child young than 14 years old, two counts of sexual acts with a child young than 14 and one count of possession of child porn — a total of 33 counts. The charges include a case from 2006 that was previously declined by the District Attorney's office.
Essex pleaded not guilty during his first day in court. If convicted, Essex would face 32 counts that would end with life in prison.
The Sheriff's Department fired Essex after a criminal and internal investigation in 2018. According to the department, the termination was overturned by the Civil Service Commission, which ordered that he be resinstated.
"Mr. Sean Essex does not reflect the values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or those of the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who proudly serve our communities each day," the department wrote in a statement.
The department also said Essex has been "relieved of duty" again and officials were working to remove his pay.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department expects all of its personnel to hold themselves to the highest ethical, moral, and professional standards at all times. Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and fully prosecuted. Society expects peace officers to hold themselves to the highest moral and ethical standards, as does the Sheriff," the department wrote.