Last Updated: 7/13/2020
An officer with the Woodlake Police Department is facing 12 counts of various sex crime charges after at least two women accused him of sexually assaulting them while in uniform.
26-year-old Oscar Robles has been charged with two counts of sexual assault by a public officer, two counts of sexual penetration by foreign object by means of threatening to use authority of public office, kidnap for oral sex, assault with intent to commit oral sex during the commission of a first-degree burglary, sexual battery by restraint, false imprisonment, attempted oral copulation under the color of authority, dissuading a witness, oral copulation under color of authority, and rape by threat of arrest.
9 of the 12 counts took place in one incident on January 9 against one woman. The remaining three counts are in connection with an alleged assault that occurred between April and August.
Tulare County deputies were first made aware of the assaults on September 11 of this year when an on-duty officer offered a ride to two pedestrians. During the ride, the woman told the officer about an alleged sexual assault by Robles. The department began investigating this claim and soon discovered a second victim who did not know the first victim and made very similar allegations against Robles. Both women have accused Robles of raping them and forcing them to perform oral sex.
Detectives believe that there may be more victims. Robles has been employed by the department since May 2014.
If convicted on all counts, Robles could face life in prison.
Bobby Thompson is an attorney contributor to The Legal Herald and a civil attorney. He often works with victims of sexual assault and has handled police officer lawsuits for sexual assault. He has offered the following commentary on the legal options available to victims who have been sexually assaulted by a police officer:
“In many cases where someone has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a police officer, victims may have a civil claim against the police department. Depending on the circumstances, the department may have been negligent. If an officer has repeated complaints against him, it is the departments responsibility to reprimand the officer or fire them. If they instead decide to ignore these complaints then the department may be found negligent and be liable to a civil lawsuit.”