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LA Sheriff's deputy charged with over 30 counts of sex crimes involving children

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Aug. 10 PM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Aug. 10 PM Edition) 02:45

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been charged with over 30 counts of sex crimes involving children.

"Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma. This is one of the most egregious crimes my office encounters and it is made worse when the crime is committed by someone who has been entrusted to protect them and our community from harm," District Attorney Gascón said. 

On Tuesday, Deputy Sean Essex was indicted by a grand jury on 18 counts of oral sex acts with a child, 12 counts of lewd acts on a child young than 14 years old, two counts of sexual acts with a child young than 14 and one count of possession of child porn — a total of 33 counts. The charges include a case from 2006 that was previously declined by the District Attorney's office. 

In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016 photo, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy recruit Renata Phillip, right, listens to recruit training officer Sean Essex at the Biscailuz Regional Training Center in Monterey Park, Calif. Phillip hopes to be an example to those who have never dealt with a black law enforcement officer. "If I can have a positive experience with someone and maybe help them change their mind, why not?" she said.  Jae C. Hong/AP

Essex pleaded not guilty during his first day in court. If convicted, Essex would face 32 counts that would end with life in prison. 

The Sheriff's Department fired Essex after a criminal and internal investigation in 2018. According to the department, the termination was overturned by the Civil Service Commission and ordered LASD to reinstate Essex. 

"Mr. Sean Essex does not reflect the values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or those of the dedicated men and women in law enforcement who proudly serve our communities each day," the department wrote in a statement. 

The department also said that Essex has again been "relieved of duty" and officials are working to remove his pay. 

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department expects all of its personnel to hold themselves to the highest ethical, moral, and professional standards at all times. Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and fully prosecuted. Society expects peace officers to hold themselves to the highest moral and ethical standards, as does the Sheriff," the department wrote. 

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