L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Arrested for Allegedly Molesting a Child

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy was arrested Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a child, officials said.

Sean Jerome Essex, 51, was arrested as part of an internal investigation into the allegations. He was booked into jail at 11:10 a.m., and released from the Norwalk Sheriff's Station's jail at 4 p.m. on a $100,000 bail, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The deputy was arrested on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old, and committing oral copulation with a child under the age of 14, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Arrested man in handcuffs
Stock photo of an arrested man in handcuffs with handcuffed hands behind back. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy was arrested Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a child, officials said. Stock Photo/Getty Images

According to KTLA, an internal investigation was launched by the Sheriff's Department's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Special Victims Bureau after a report was submitted through the Los Angeles County Suspected Child Abuse Report system.

The Sheriff's Department said the case will be reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department expects all of its members to hold themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards at all times," a statement from the Sheriff's Department published late on Friday read, according to KTLA.

"Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the post, which has now been deleted, reportedly said.

The statement said department Sheriff Alex Villanueva was "appalled and saddened" by the allegations against Essex, according to the news outlet.

It isn't clear when the investigation began, or if any internal disciplinary action has been taken in light of the allegations. Additional details of the tip that was submitted via the Los Angeles County Suspected Child Abuse Report system weren't made available.

Newsweek has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for additional comment.

Essex is expected to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, April 12, according to ABC7.

In a separate incident in 2021, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and girls' softball coach, Antonio Heriberto Galindo, 41, was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a teenage girl.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in August 2021 that he was booked into jail on suspicion of three charges—contacting a minor with intent for sex, oral copulation with person under 18 and sexual penetration against the victim's will.

Following his arrest, he was relieved of his duties, and the department suspended his peace officer powers.

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is monitoring the criminal outcome of this case," the department said in a statement at the time. "Sheriff Alex Villanueva will not tolerate misconduct or criminal behavior of any kind, and those personnel who choose to break the law will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."