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2 LAPD officers accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers have been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting four women, sometimes while on duty, prosecutors say.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said Wednesday that James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, are set to be arraigned Thursday in connection with the case. Prosecutors say the two became partners in the Hollywood Division in December 2008, and shortly thereafter began sexually assaulting four women that they had arrested at various times on narcotics-related offenses. The assaults continued through March 2011 and occurred at different locations, including inside a police car, prosecutors say, with most taking place while the men were on duty. The victims were 19, 24, 25, and 34 years old.

Both Nichols and Valenzuela are charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority, and oral copulation by force. Valenzuela is also charged with one count of assault with a firearm, NBC Los Angeles reports. If convicted, they could face life in state prison. Chief Charlie Beck said Nichols and Valenzuela have been relieved of duty without pay since 2013, and called them a disgrace to the department.