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A former police officer from California has been charged with violating several victims' constitutional rights by sexually assaulting several women over a four-year period.
J. DeShawn “J.D.” Torrence, 38, is accused of sexually abusing four women during his time as an officer with the Sanger Police Department in Fresno County, California. A federal jury returned a 10-count indictment — which was unsealed on Friday — claiming that Torrence’s alleged sexual assaults were a “deprivation of constitutional rights under color of law,” according to the Department of Justice.
Feds say the alleged assaults took place between August 2017 and June 2021, when Torrence allegedly “engaged in various former of nonconsensual sexual conduct, ranging from directing a victim to remove her clothing without a legitimate law enforcement purpose to forcing his victims to engage in sex acts” while employed with the Sanger Police Department.
Torrence, from Corcoran, California, is no longer employed with the department, prosecutors stated.
According to the indictment filed with the Eastern District of California reviewed by Oxygen.com, Torrence is accused of assaulting four women, listed in court documents only by their initials.
However, according to ABC Fresno affiliate KFSN, at least seven women came forward to accuse Torrence of criminal behavior. An additional five individuals accused Torrence of police misconduct, according to the Hanford Sentinel. That number is expected to rise.
The first of the alleged assaults listed in the federal indictment occurred between Aug. 1, 2017, and Oct. 18, 2017, against a woman named only as “M.C.G..” Feds say Torrence willfully deprived the victim of her fundamental rights to bodily integrity when Torrence “penetrated M.C.G’s vulva with his penis without M.C.G.’s consent.”
The indictment also alleges that Torrence’s penis came into contact with M.C.G.’s mouth without her consent during the same time frame, though it was unclear whether both were part of the same incident.
The oral sexual assault of M.C.G. allegedly occurred again on a separate occasion between Oct. 10, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2020. M.C.G. also accused Torrence of touching her breast in January 2021.
A second woman, named only as “L.S.,” accused Torrence of touching her breasts and buttocks without her consent between Oct. 15 and Nov. 22, 2017, according to the indictment.
Another woman, “S.L.,” claimed Torrence, “directed S.L. to remove her shirt without a legitimate law enforcement purpose under the pretext of photographing her injuries” in March 2018. The indictment alleges Torrence then made unwanted contact with the victim’s genitalia, breast and buttocks.
The final woman in the complaint, “B.H.,” claimed Torrence forced her to touch his genitalia in June 2021. She also claimed Torrence made contact with her breast with his mouth.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office addressed the latter incident in a press release following Torrence’s July 2021 arrest for sexual battery and unlawful detainment.
“Sheriff’s detectives learned that on June 23, while on duty, Officer Torrence stopped his patrol car to check on a car parked in the city of Sanger. Inside were a man and woman,” sheriff’s officials stated. “Officer Torrence detained the woman and had her stand next to his patrol vehicle due to possibly being intoxicated.
“During his interview with the woman, Torrence touched the woman against her will in a sexual manner,” sheriff’s officials continued. “The woman realized this was inappropriate behavior; fearing she would be further assaulted, she walked away to a well-lit business and stayed there until Officer Torrence left the area.”
Speaking to KFSN in 2021 under the condition of anonymity, the woman said Torrence shined a flashlight in her face and made her walk down the street, which she believed was for a Breathalyzer test.
“He asked me if I had on a bra, and he, like, flicked my shirt open,” she told reporters. “When [he] flicked my shirt, he, like, looked around for cameras.”
“I wanted to go back to my car, but how do you walk away from a cop?” she added.
County officials said Torrence failed to activate his body-worn camera at the time of the incident and failed to notify dispatchers, despite both being standard policy requirements.
The woman’s lawyer, Butch Wagner, told authorities he planned to file a civil lawsuit against Torrence and the city of Sanger, according to KFSN.
“There’s a lot of sexual assaults and batteries that go on, unfortunately, in our society,” said Wagner. “But the worst is when a person of extreme power, like a police officer with a badge and a gun, does it to a woman alone in a parking lot. That’s about abuse of power that can be.”
Following Torrence’s 2021 arrest, sheriff’s officials said they were searching for additional victims who may have had “inappropriate interactions with J.D. Torrence,” according to their release.
“The Sanger Police Department finds these allegations to be deeply disturbing,” said police chief Greg Garner following the arrest. “Due to the criminal nature of the allegations, Officer Torrence’s peace officer powers were suspended immediately, he was placed on administrative leave and the investigation was turned over to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Sanger Police Department encourages anyone who has experienced misconduct by law enforcement personnel to file a report,” Garner stated.
Torrence was released on bail following his 2021 arrest.
The new federal charges against Torrence for violations against the four women carry a maximum of life in prison plus $250,000 in fines, according to the Department of Justice.
The FBI - Sacramento Field Office, which is leading the investigation with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office’s assistance, asks anyone with information to contact them at 1-916-746-7000.
Jail records show Torrence was booked into the Fresno County jail on Friday, where he is being held on a federal detainer.
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