A Woodlake police officer has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, Tulare County sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Friday.
Oscar Robles, 26, was arrested Thursday and is being held at the Kings County jail because he has arrested people who are in the Tulare County jail, Boudreaux said.
Monday, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office filed 12 felony counts against Robles accusing him of sexual assault of two victims while under color of authority, and witness intimidation, dissuading a witness, false imprisonment and assault by a peace office.
The investigation began Sept. 11 after deputies patrolling near Visalia came across a man and a woman walking, he said. The woman said she had been sexually assaulted by a Woodlake police officer.
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A second woman was soon found who said the same thing happened to her.
In one assault Robles was in uniform, said Boudreaux, who added he believes there are other victims.
“We will hold accountable police officers if they so choose to tarnish the badge,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux said the deputy who stopped to check on the couple walking on the road in the Visalia area offered them a ride into town. He credited the deputy with representing law enforcement well in day-to-day interactions with the public.
“He kind of builds this rapport with them, that for the sheriff’s office, that’s what we believe in: If you need help, we’re going to help you,” Boudreaux said. “She trusts the officer and says, ‘I would like to make a complaint.’ So she begins telling the story, and as you can imagine, it’s quite a shock to the deputy.”
The deputy called his supervisor and someone went out and interviewed the victim, he said.
“We quickly learned of another female” victim, Boudreaux said. ”We interviewed both of them.”
The assaults occurred in January and April, the sheriff’s department said.
Robles in April 2017 was involved in an officer involved shooting in Woodlake that left a man paralyzed. Robles and other officers are being sued in civil court.
Boudreaux said the situation with the Woodlake officer appears similar to the case of William Nulick, a former Tulare County deputy who forced a woman into a sex act after pulling her over, and another victim was also found. Nulick in January 2016 was sentenced to five years in prison.