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When Imperial County correctional officer Richard Edward Sotelo assaulted his wife, it wasn’t enough to lose his job. Groping another male officer only weeks later was.
Domestic violence is the most common charge filed against cops after serious driving offenses, writes Lyle Moran in a new story for our criminal cops series. This is one local example.
Sotelo was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in early 2013 after he pulled his wife onto a bed and assaulted her. “You need to remember you’re my wife, and I can take it when I want,” Sotelo told the mother of their three children, according to the police report. The couple had been separated for months.
He was issued a criminal protective order to stay away from his wife for three months but was allowed to keep his job with the sheriff’s office while charges were pending.
Following the incident, Sotelo allegedly groped the private parts of a fellow male sheriff’s employee multiple times at work. It was only after the Imperial County district attorney’s office filed felony sexual battery charges against him months later that he left the department.
Maria Haberfield, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Moran that domestic violence is one of the most difficult complaints to deal with.
“Probably the majority of departments would have handled it the same way by waiting for more information or another event,” she said.
More work from our media partners in this series:
The Mercury News dove into the case of two Los Angeles narcotics officers who sexually assaulted vulnerable informants in their undercover Jetta. It took the Los Angeles Police Department six years to take action.
Members of Palomar College’s faculty laid out their many issues with college President Joi Lin Blake’s leadership, including financial issues and leadership failures.
Blake shot back that employees were upset that she’d disrupted the status quo.
Officials from a state agency, meanwhile, laid out the grim financial picture facing the school and emphasized that leaders must take dramatic action to right the ship.
VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez captured all the drama in this week’s North County Report, and also detailed Cori Schumacher’s next move, new projects up for approval in San Marcos and Oceanside and a great moment in alpaca fashion.
The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.