Fresno firefighter Jeffrey Sanchez was charged Tuesday with three felony charges in connection with the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman.
A criminal complaint charges Sanchez, 36, with rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible sexual penetration by force. He will be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court on Friday.
Sanchez was arrested Jan. 19 after the woman told sheriff’s detectives that he raped her inside his home on South Fowler Avenue near the Sunnyside Country Club in southeast Fresno. A firefighter for eight years, Sanchez is free on $105,000 bail. He also has been on paid administrative leave.
Fresno attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt, who is defending Sanchez, said Tuesday he was disappointed in the District Attorney’s decision to file charges. “He adamantly denies the allegations made against him,” Hammerschmidt said, noting that his client has no criminal history and has devoted his career to helping others.
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A sheriff’s detective affidavit says the woman and her friend met Sanchez and his roommate at a bar in Clovis on the night of Dec. 18. They then traveled together to Sanchez’s home, where she and others smoked marijuana.
The woman, who was not named in the affidavit because she is a potential rape victim, told the detective she started to feel strange after drinking a beer that Sanchez handed her.
The woman recalled Sanchez taking her to a detached pool house. Once inside, she said Sanchez started to kiss her and take off her clothes, the affidavit says. The woman said “she couldn’t stop Jeffrey and had no physical control over her body,” the affidavit says.
The affidavit says Sanchez then had sex with her against her will.
Hammerschmidt has said the woman’s credibility is at issue because she started the evening by showing a fake identification card to bar employees to get into the establishment and drink. The woman also gave a false name to Sanchez and said she was 22, Hammerschmidt said.
The affidavit, he said, is missing another key detail. According to Hammerschmidt, on the morning of Dec. 19 his client was walking with the woman from his home to the street so she could get a ride home from her friend. He said the woman had no problem walking the eighth of a mile from the home to the street.
Once there, four sheriff’s deputies quickly confronted Sanchez and detained him, Hammerschmidt said. The affidavit does not say whether the woman was still intoxicated or physically or mentally impaired when detectives interviewed her, Hammerschmidt said.