Progreso police officer Matthew Sepulveda was arrested by the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, July 9 for allegedly sexually assaulting a suspect in custody. The alleged victim is a 20-year-old man.
The sheriff's office made an announcement on Monday that they were investigating allegations of official oppression involving a Progreso police officer. They responded to the Progreso Police Department on June 29, which is the date Sepulveda is accused of committing the assault.
According to the Progress Times, Sepulveda was fired last week.
Sepulveda also worked at the Hidalgo County Jail for four years. One year after he was promoted to seargeant, he resigned shortly before he was about to face disciplinary action for what the sheriff referred to as "administrative reviews."
The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office is leading this investigation and is working alongside the FBI.
Sepulveda is charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of violating the civil rights of a person in custody. According to jail records, the second charge has an additional qualifier of "sexual."
His bond was set at $225,000 and he was released on Thursday morning.
Attorney Marc Lenahan represents victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. He specializes in cases involving sexual predators in positions of authority. Here are a few thoughts from Marc regarding the legal options available to those who have been sexually assaulted by law enforcement officers:
The police supposedly have a duty to protect and serve the community. While many police officers are trustworthy people who live up to this duty, there are also sexual predators in law enforcement who exploit their authority in order to commit terrible sexual crimes. When this happens, the victims deserve justice.
Police officers who sexually assault people in their custody have violated the civil rights of their victims. These crimes inflict unimaginable trauma. In many cases of sexual assault involving law enforcement officers, the victims may have grounds for a lawsuit against the police department.
Cases involving negligence often result in lawsuits. For example, a police department could be deemed negligent if they had received previous complaints of sexual misconduct involving and officer but failed to act on those complaints.
If you've been sexually assaulted by a police officer, you have legal rights. You can learn more about your legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer in a free consultation.