SAN BERNARDINO – Police have said they are pleased with the conviction of a former vice cop who was found guilty on two felony charges on Wednesday.
Jose Perez, 46, was convicted in Federal Court on two counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law and a civil rights offense that connected him with having sex with prostitutes three years ago.
“This case involved an extensive investigation conducted by our own detectives,” said Lt. Rich Lawhead, a spokesman for San Bernardino PD, also stating that law enforcement is often criticized about investigations “that involve our own personnel.”
Lawhead said San Bernardino police “is pleased with the outcome of the week long federal trial …”
It had been proven that Perez forced prostitutes to have sex with him while he was still in uniform. Prosecutors said Perez also guided fellow officers on how to properly conduct vice investigations.
But two unidentified prostitutes told investigators that they “engaged in the sex acts demanded by Perez only because they feared for their well-being because he was a police officer,” a statement read.
Parts of the evidence against Perez is that statements from two prostitutes alleging sexual conduct had been traced to the exact areas they reported via department GPS records.
During interviews, Perez admitted to having sex with one of the women, but both agreed that he had never paid for the services.
Lawhead said cases like these tends to tarnish the image of police, the ultimate outcome might lift the measure of “our department’s legitimacy.”
When Perez, who resides in the Riverside County community of Menifee, returns to court for sentencing on Aug. 18, he faces life in prison. Perez, who once worked as a Los Angeles city police officer, was fired from the San Bernardino force in Dec. 2012 after investigating the charges.
In a statement released by U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr., he said, “the charges in this case describe disgraceful abuses of police authority that simply cannot be tolerated in our society.”