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Orange County deputy twice-accused of rape may have been taken off duty at other departments

August 8th, 2017 at 7:10 PM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

If former Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Lee Caropino had worked for a different Southern California law enforcement agency, he might have been taken off patrol duty when he was first accused of rape and before his second sexual-assault allegation, according to interviews with regional police officials.

Instead, a sheriff’s department policy on internal-affairs investigations kept Caropino in contact with the public in February, 2014, when he was initially accused, leading to an on-duty interaction with a second woman who claimed the deputy raped her two months later.

Now, days after a federal jury awarded $2.25 million to the second accuser and found that the sheriff’s protocol contributed to the assault, the department is reviewing the policy that kept Caropino on patrol and in contact with the public even as he was the subject of a criminal investigation. It took nine months from the time the investigation began until he was placed on administrative leave.

“We are in the process of reviewing the court’s findings with 20-20 hindsight,” sheriff’s department spokesman Lt. Lane Lagaret wrote.

Caropino never faced criminal prosecution. The district attorney’s office, following an investigation, declined to press charges. But the judge in the civil trial told the jury that they should make their ruling assuming that at least the second rape allegation was true. Caropino’s attorney has not responded to requests for comment.

Lagaret defended the department’s policy, which says deputies can be placed on leave only after criminal investigators substantiate the accuser’s claims.

“We would be negligent if …

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Tags: News, public safety, Top Stories OCR

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