Dec 6, 2021
A California correctional officer has been indicted on multiple counts of sexually assaulting female inmates at the San Joaquin County Jail, according to an announcement from the District Attorney’s Office.
Alex Tafoya, a correctional officer who had reportedly been employed by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for approximately 12 years, was arraigned on December 2 following the federal grand jury indictment.
Tafoya was indicted on the following sexual assault charges:
“We must protect women from sexual violence irrespective of their circumstance,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a press release. “When law enforcement officers violate their oath and authority and abuse members of the community, they will be held accountable. The District Attorney’s Office commends the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for believing victims, conducting a thorough investigation, and for partnering with our office to seek justice.”
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office was reportedly made aware of the allegations against Tafoya in July. He is currently on paid administrative leave.
ABC 10 in Sacramento spoke with San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow last week regarding Tafoya’s indictment. While the Associated Press reported that Tafoya was indicted for sexual assaults on inmates, Withrow told ABC 10 that the allegations against the corrections officer actually involve a woman in the community.
“I just want to reassure the people of San Joaquin County and everybody up and down our state that no law enforcement agency wants to have a law enforcement officer dishonor the badge or their department,” Withrow said to ABC 10. “Of course, we never want our citizens put in any type of danger by our officers. If these charges are proved out, he will be held accountable to the highest standard of the law. I’m sure the DA (District Attorney) will take care of that and so will the judge.”
Tafoya’s indictment is the second case involving sex crime allegations against a San Joaquin County correctional officer. In October, Zachary Simmons, an officer at the County Jail, was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple inmates.
Simmons was sentenced to eight years in prison after a jury found him guilty of having raped an inmate in 2015. In addition, the jury found him guilty of committing other sex crimes with two inmates in 2015 and 2018.
Simmons was convicted on the following charges:
Like Officer Tafoya, Simmons was placed on administrative leave after an investigation was launched following sexual assault allegations being reported in August 2020.
In response to the question of whether or not the two sexual assault cases involving correctional officers were indicative of a systemic issue, Sheriff Withrow told ABC 10, “I would say this is not a problem throughout our department. These are two individuals who brought dishonor and crime into our jail, and we immediately acted. None of us want to be around dirty cops,”
“Mr. Tafoya is innocent until proven guilty, but he is currently sitting in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail, and he will have his day in court,” he added.
Survivors of sexual assault may wish to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for various types of damages. Civil sexual assault claims may be filed regardless of whether or not any criminal charges are brought against a perpetrator (and the outcome of any criminal case does not have a direct bearing on a civil proceeding).
Some common damages that may be recovered through a sexual assault lawsuit include:
If you’d like to learn more about your legal options after a sexual assault incident, including pursuing financial compensation against the individual or entity involved, contact Dordulian Law Group (DLG) today at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. There is never any fee until we successfully recover a maximum damages award for your sexual assault claim.
DLG is led by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Our 98% success record has helped clients recover more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts.
California AB 218, the landmark legislation which took effect in 2020, allows ALL survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file a civil claim and obtain justice through financial compensation — regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. But AB 218’s three-year loopback window officially expires at the end of 2022, and survivors who haven’t filed a claim before that time will likely left without any future legal recourse. To speak with a child sexual abuse lawyer, contact us today at 818-322-4056.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.