A former Tulare County sheriff’s deputy who pulled over women during traffic stops and sexually assaulted them has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and must register as a sex offender for life.
William Nulick, 44, who had been free on bail, was handcuffed and taken into custody after Tulare County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Montejano handed down the sentence Wednesday.
Nulick pleaded no contest last year to two felony counts of oral copulation under color of authority and no contest to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.
By pleading no contest, he avoided a trial and potentially a life sentence. If a jury had found him guilty of all the charges filed against him, he could have been been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Never miss a local story.
Two victims addressed the court in Spanish.
“He’s torn my life apart,” one said. “He caused me a lot of emotional pain … I’m very scared and just can’t trust anyone. This has changed my life.”
Another victim broke down in tears.
“I feel fortunate to some extent my life was not taken from me,” she said.
Nulick was arrested after one victim reported to authorities in October 2014 that she had been stopped by a deputy who, after she said she didn’t have a driver’s license, told her that he’d let her go in exchange for oral sex. She refused.
He took away their dignity.
Cindy Underwood, Tulare County prosecutor
He forced her to follow him to a remote location where he sexually assaulted her, the sheriff’s department said.
Investigators arrested Nulick a few days later after finding video images from a store in Monson in northern Tulare County that confirmed he was on duty in the area where she said the assault occurred.
After the sentencing, prosecutor Cindy Underwood said the victims are traumatized and fear law enforcement because of what happened to them.
“He took away their dignity,” she said.
Nulick used the power of his uniform and patrol car to pick on “victims who he didn’t think were going to report (him) to law enforcement,” she said.
Nulick has been a deputy for about two years when he was arrested. Other alleged victims came forward after his arrest was widely reported.
The charges against Nulick involved four victims.
Nulick’s attorney Galatea DeLapp of Fresno noted that more than 40 letters of support for her client were sent to the court.
“This is a man who has had a flawless record up to this point,” she said at the sentencing.
After the sentencing hearing, the defense attorney told reporters that Nulick cooperated with investigators and has “accepted responsibility.”
Nulick wanted to address the court, but his legal counsel in civil lawsuits against him advised him not to speak, DeLapp said.
The sheriff’s department and the county are also being sued in federal court.