Monterey Park Officer Gets Nearly 8 Years For Sexually Assaulting Women While on Duty

Former Monterey Park police officer Israel Sanchez was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting women while on duty four years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

A judge on Tuesday sentenced a former Monterey Park police officer to seven years and eight months in prison for sexually assaulting three women during traffic stops while he was on duty.

Israel Sanchez, 42, of Whittier was convicted March 12 of five counts of sexual battery by restraint, five counts of assault under color of authority, three counts of false imprisonment by violence and one count of soliciting a bribe.

Deputy District Attorney Hyunah Suh said Sanchez must also register as a sex offender for life. She said Sanchez spoke at his sentencing.

“He was minimizing his own actions and not taking responsibility for his actions,” Suh said.

Sanchez’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.

The three victims were between 19 and 28 when the assaults occurred between July 28 and Aug. 15, 2014 in Monterey Park.

Sanchez forced each woman to expose herself during a traffic stop. In two instances, he touched the women.

One of the victims filed a complaint with Monterey Park police in August 2014 which led to an investigation, according to the prosecution.

“The Monterey Park Police Department and the City of Monterey Park took this situation extremely seriously as soon as we heard the first allegation of misconduct from one of the victims,” Police Chief Jim Smith said.

Smith said the department immediately conducted a preliminary investigation and Sanchez was placed on paid administrative leave. To eliminate a conflict of interest, the department also asked the Long Beach Police to investigate the allegation against the officer.

“This incident is in no way indicative of the professional law enforcement personnel that we have at MPPD,“ Smith said. “We hold ourselves to the highest ethics and standards and have a zero tolerance policy for conduct that is not in line with those standards.”

Long Beach police presented a case to the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division in August 2015. The DA’s Office filed charges against Sanchez nine months later.

Long Beach detectives arrested Sanchez May 16, 2016.

Sanchez started as a reserve police office for the Monterey Park Police Department October 2009 and became a full time officer October 2012.

He was on paid leave when the investigation started. After the preliminary hearing where a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Sanchez, the police department placed him on unpaid leave May 2016.

Sanchez was fired April 2018.