A Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant is accused of fondling a deputy he supervised and forcing her to provide sexual favors in their workplace in exchange for his approving her time-off requests.
Sgt. Michael John Spina was arrested Aug. 9 and charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count each of false imprisonment and indecent exposure tied to his actions with the female employee, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a district attorney’s memorandum. He was placed on administrative leave Wednesday.
Spina, 37, was working at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in July 2016 when he ordered a female deputy into his office and locked the door, telling her she “owed” him for giving her a day off, according to the document written by Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett and cited by The Times.
Spina touched the woman’s breast over her shirt while watching a pornographic video and masturbating, the memo says. The woman said that five months prior, Spina demanded similar treatment, and she complied out of fear that her day off would not be approved.
Spina is also accused of inappropriately touching the deputy in June 2016 and asking if he could perform a sexual act on her, to which she repeatedly said “no.”
The case, first reported by the website Witness LA, was investigated by the Sheriffs Department’s internal criminal investigations bureau, which referred the matter to the district attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division, which handles alleged crimes by law enforcement officials, The Times reported. The charges, however, are being prosecuted by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office — not the District attorney’s Office — because they’re misdemeanors.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be monitoring the criminal proceedings closely and take “appropriate and swift action” when the outcome of the judicial process is determined … according to sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida. Spina is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on or before Sept 27.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department expects all of its members to hold themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards at all times and has a comprehensive Policy of Equality for reporting alleged incidents of this nature,” Nishida said.
—City News Service
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