Aug 12, 2022
An unsealed indictment has revealed that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputy has been charged with sexually assaulting four girls who were between the ages of seven and 13 at the time of the alleged crimes, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. One girl reported the abuse by the sheriff’s deputy in 2006, but her case was never taken up, according to a KTLA report.
A grand jury indicted the deputy – 51-year-old Sean Essex – on the following charges:
Jail records indicate that Essex was arrested by the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau. The alleged sexual predator faces 14 25-to-life counts and 18 15-to-life counts, the District Attorney’s Office confirmed.
“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 George Gascón said. “My office’s Bureau of Victim Services will provide the assistance and resources to the victims in this case to help them in their healing process.”
Gascón also confirmed that one of the four survivors reported that Essex had abused her over 15 years ago, but “the case was previously declined by our office.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that three of the survivors who made allegations against Essex were sisters, and that the disgraced sheriff’s deputy was in a romantic relationship with the mother of his victims. According to the indictment, Essex was actually living with two of the survivors when he sexually abused them.
One of the sisters was younger than 10 at the time of the sex acts, and the two others were younger than 14, according to prosecutors.
Essex “was like a father figure to my three daughters,” the girls’ mother wrote in a court filing dated April 13, adding that he had been sexually assaulting her daughters for six years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Essex is currently being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, according to KTLA. He is due to appear in court on September 1.
KTLA also reported that jail records indicate Essex was arrested by the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau on April 8 of this year. The exact charge for said arrest has not been confirmed, but records indicate that Essex was released on $100,000 bond and appeared in Los Angeles Municipal Court on April 12.
At the time of Essex’s April arrest, KTLA reported it “was part of an internal investigation into allegations that he sexually molested a child” and the alleged sexual predator was expected to face “charges for lewd acts and oral copulation with a child under the age of 14.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement indicating that it had previously attempted to fire Essex “several years ago,” but that decision was reversed by the Civil Service Commission.
“In 2018, Mr. Essex was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs while assigned to Training Bureau,” the statement said. “After a criminal and internal investigation, Mr. Essex was terminated. The Civil Service Commission, which is independent of the Sheriff’s Department, overturned the Sheriff’s Department termination and the Sheriff’s Department was ordered to reinstate Mr. Essex. The Civil Service Commission, over the objections of the Sheriff’s Department, ordered him returned to his assignment at Training Bureau.”
“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 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 statement said.
In April, following Essex’s arrest, L.A, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was “appalled and saddened” by the allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The LASD confirmed that Essex has been relieved of duty, and that the department is in the process of “removing his pay.”
Sam Dordulian, former sex crimes prosecutor and founder of Dordulian Law Group in Glendale, California, called the allegations against Essex “abhorrent,” noting that after several years of prosecuting Los Angeles sexual assaults, the charges in this particular case were “truly staggering.”
“I’ve unfortunately seen some of the worst and most despicable crimes on the part of sexual predators, but these charges are particularly odious. To see someone in a position of authority, who should have been protecting the innocent, committing these acts repeatedly and over the course of several years is absolutely appalling,” Dordulian said.
Unlike criminal lawsuits which are filed by the District Attorney’s Office and intended to secure a jail sentence or fine, civil lawsuits may be filed by the sexual assault survivor. In a sexual assault civil lawsuit, the intent is to recover financial compensation for the survivor, taking into account the harm that has been endured.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, civil claims can be an extremely empowering option for survivors of sexual assault, providing an opportunity to confront an assailant while also potentially affording various advantages, such as:
To learn more about filing a civil claim for a California sexual assault crime, contact the experienced and dedicated team of attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) via 818-322-4056. At DLG, we believe survivors, and we fight to ensure that they secure justice through maximum financial compensation.
The deadline for filing a sexual assault or abuse civil claim varies depending on whether the survivor was an adult or a child at the time of the incident.
For Childhood Sexual Assault and Abuse Survivors:
Currently under California AB 218, the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse crimes is tolled (paused) through the end of 2022. For a limited time, a three-year lookback window (also known as a revival window) is afforded to survivors under AB 218, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. In effect, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse in California are currently eligible to file civil lawsuits in pursuit of financial compensation against either a perpetrating individual or entity (e.g. the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Southern Baptist Convention, a school, etc.).
However, it’s important for survivors to acknowledge that AB 218’s three-year lookback window expires on December 31, 2022. After that time, many survivors of childhood sexual abuse – particularly those impacted by crimes which took place several years ago but did not officially file civil claims – will likely be left without legal recourse. The California statute of limitations on childhood sex crimes officially resumes on January 1, 2023. Accordingly, survivors are encouraged to file claims immediately in order to preserve the opportunity for justice.
For Adult Sexual Assault and Abuse Survivors:
California’s statute of limitations on sex crimes allows adult survivors the opportunity to file civil claims up to 10 years after an incident occurs. This means that adult sexual assault survivors have up to 10 years from the date of a sex crime to file civil claims for financial compensation against individuals or entities.
In addition, the California statute of limitations for adult sex crimes includes a separate three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury. A common example of a sexual assault psychological injury is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Sexual assault survivors may be eligible to recover various types of financial damages depending on the specific nature of their claims. For example, applicable to the facts of your case, you may be able to secure the following damages in a California sexual assault civil lawsuit:
To learn more about what specific damages may be applicable to your sexual assault claim, contact a dedicated sex crime attorney from DLG today via 818-322-4056.
DLG is one of California’s a premier sexual assault and abuse firms with an unparalleled dedication to fighting for justice on behalf of survivors across the nation. Our four-tiered SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) provides survivors with a unique and all-encompassing type of legal representation and support.
Unlike other firms, DLG’s four-tiered team approach includes:
Additionally, DLG has a history of proven results in major sexual assault and abuse civil claims on behalf of survivors.
Led by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG’s sexual assault lawyers have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards. Some recent examples of our sexual assault/abuse civil claim victories include:
Our dedicated, proven, and trusted sex crime attorneys have secured more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for survivors while maintaining a 98% success record.
When you’re ready to take the first step toward obtaining justice against your perpetrator on your own terms, DLG’s SAJE Team is here to fight tirelessly on your behalf.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.