In certain limited situations, an adult simply cannot consent to sex with another adult. One of those situations involves jail. An incarcerated adult cannot legally consent to sex with a jail or prison guard.
So while an investigation of an alleged sexual encounter between a male Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and two female inmates has not turned up evidence that he forced himself on them or threatened them, he still faces two counts of sexual assault, recent news reports indicate.
The 31-year-old deputy has been arrested, officials said, and charged with two counts of rape and a pair of counts of oral copulation under color of authority. The alleged incidents were at the Century Regional Detention Center, which houses about 2,000 inmates.
One of the women apparently told a jail life skills teacher that during a recent night shift, the deputy went into a cell with the inmates and had the sexual encounters.
He was arrested and put on paid leave, officials said.
A union representative with the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs urged people to withhold their judgments unless and until the charges are proven. That sentiment echoes a basic premise in our criminal justice system: a presumption of innocence.
Unless and until the state proves a person guilty in a fair trial, every person should be presumed innocent.
Police officers are entitled to that presumption like every other defendant in America. Manhattan Beach's Houlé Law represents law enforcement clients in the South Bay and across Southern California.