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Los Angeles cop faces two rape charges after DNA triggers ‘cold hit’ notice, DA says

What’s inside of a ‘rape kit?’

Gary Shutler, DNA Technical Leader at the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, shows the components of a "rape kit" for collection of evidence after a sexual assault.
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Gary Shutler, DNA Technical Leader at the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, shows the components of a "rape kit" for collection of evidence after a sexual assault.

A veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department was arrested Tuesday after an investigation into a rape reported last year tied him to an earlier sexual assault as well, prosecutors said.

William Rodriguez, 33, faces two counts of forcible rape, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release on Wednesday. Rodriguez has been with the police department for 10 years, NBC Los Angeles reports.

“When one of our own breaks the trust of the people we are sworn to protect and to serve, it tarnishes the badge we all wear proudly on our chests,” Chief Michel Moore said in a statement, according to NBC. “This arrest also reflects our commitment to pursue every lead no matter where the investigation takes us.”

Prosecutors said investigators were looking into allegations that Rodriguez sexually assaulted an acquaintance at his home on Nov. 1, 2018, and then a “cold hit” notice from a statewide DNA database alerted them that there was a second victim.

That additional victim was from an earlier 2015 sexual assault, which “involved another female victim who allegedly was raped under similar circumstances,” prosecutors said.

Rodriguez was off-duty during the alleged rapes, prosecutors said.

We know only of those two,” LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza said when asked if there may be other victims, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But like with any investigation, we will follow the evidence as far as it takes us.”

Prosecutors said Rodriguez is set to appear in court on Thursday and that the case is still under investigation.

LAPD said in a statement that Rodriguez’ police powers have been taken away and that he was most recently working in the agency’s Valley Traffic Division, according to NBC.

Rodriguez faces a state prison sentence as long as 30 years to life if he is convicted of the charges, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors are recommending Rodriguez be held on $1.2 million bail.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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