Tyler Hormel, a Chowchilla police officer charged with sex crimes allegedly involving a minor, was fired Wednesday from the police department, the city announced in a news release.
Hormel, 35, was arrested Monday on suspicion of one count of oral copulation with a minor, two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child age 14 or 15, and four counts of forcible rape, according the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
The allegations all involve one alleged juvenile girl over the age of 14, the Madera County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to the Sun-Star.
If convicted, Hormel faces more than 50 years in state prison and would be forced to register as a sex offender, according to District Attorney David Linn.
Hormel appeared briefly in court Wednesday on video monitor from the jail and pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of rape involving the teenager, prosecutors said.
Judge Dale Blea scheduled a bail-review hearing for Tuesday before Judge Joseph Soldani. A preliminary hearing also has been scheduled for Feb. 26 in Madera County Superior Court.
The judge appointed the Madera County Public Defender’s Office to represent Hormel. The Public Defender’s Office was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
Linn said it was too early to comment on any details of the evidence gathered, but said he was confident in the case.
“We have a significant amount of evidence and an extremely strong case on all five counts,” Linn said.
The veteran police officer had been working as the school resource officer since 2013 at the Chowchilla Elementary School District. School officials have said the allegations against Hormel do not involve any of their students and the incidents in question did not take place on a school campus.
Authorities have not said how Hormel knew the alleged victim in the case.
In a statement released Wednesday, Chowchilla Police Chief Dave Riviere said he was “deeply saddened by the arrest.”
“My heart goes out to the victim, the family of the victim, the Hormel family, the staff at the police department, city staff, the school district and the entire Chowchilla community,” Riviere said.
Riviere said the department had concluded its internal investigation into the arrest.
“Effective immediately Tyler Hormel is no longer employed by the City of Chowchilla,” Riviere said in the statement.
In a telephone interview with the Sun-Star, Riviere said he could not comment on the specific grounds on which Hormel was fired, but acknowledged it was related to the internal investigation prompted by the officer’s arrest this week.
“Because of the very serious nature of the allegations, it was necessary for us to move very quickly,” Riviere said.
Riviere acknowledged the arrest has rocked his 16-officer force.
“Obviously it’s extremely sad and extremely disappointing. We’re all pretty clsoe, all of us, and we feel bad for the family of the victim and the Hormel family.”
Linn said the department “didn’t really have any other choice but to fire him once he was arrested.”
“It’s unfortunate that a police officer would be involved in this type of crime,” Linn said. “But we will treat him as we would any other citizen.”
Hormel remained in custody Wednesday at the Madera County Jail with bail set at $500,000.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482