New charges filed against Imperial County Sheriff's Deputy

El Centro

New charges filed against Imperial County Sheriff's Deputy

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EL CENTRO, Calif. (13 On Your Side) -  The District Attorney presented two more cases of women who claim Imperial County Sheriff, Stephen Lankford, tried to get them to have sex with him while on duty.

This time, two victims are accusing Lankford of bribing them to perform oral sex on him, in exchange for not arresting them on outstanding warrant charges. 

During today's hearing, Lankford's attorney, Judith Odbert, stated that two new victims came forward after seeing media coverage with Lankford's mugshot, claiming Lankford also had done the same to them.

Odbert says there were phone records and a saved text message indicating communication between Lankford and the victims. Yet she says the text does not prove he was asking for sexual favors.

Deputy District Attorney Marco Nunez says the telephone records in the new cases do support accusations made by the two victims.

In court Tuesday, Nunez also reaffirmed that in the original case, which was filed by the first victim, has evidence of DNA samples from Lankford's semen found inside his patrol car.

Lankford was arrested in April for forcing a 29-year-old El Centro woman to undress, touch his private parts and perform oral sex on him--all while he was on duty.

According to the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, DNA tests conducted from semen found inside Lankford's patrol vehicle matched the deputy - who remains on paid leave.

Nunez could not talk about the new cases but says all three separate cases will continue to move forward.

"Statements that were made at the bail hearing today by the defense and by the prosecution. those statements are not evidence. Any evidence that will come out, will come out on July the 9th at the preliminary hearing."

Lankford remains in jail on a $100,000 bond. 

Overall, he faces three sex charges including one for entering a home with intention to bribe a victim.

Lankford will next appear in court for an evidentiary hearing July 9.

 

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