Friday, October 7, 2011
Former sheriff's deputy convicted of sexual assault
A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was accused of attacking a woman during a May 2008 traffic stop was convicted Friday on sexual assault and false imprisonment charges.
Mark Fitzpatrick, 41, was also charged with inappropriately touching two other women he pulled over later that month.
Fitzgerald, who worked out of the Compton station, had a history of sexual misconduct accusations spanning his two-decade career with the Sheriff's Department, authorities said. During the first 2008 traffic stop, he pulled over a single mother and told her he was going take her to jail for drunk driving.
"What are you going to do for me in order for me not to bring you to jail tonight?" he went on, asking to see her breasts, the mother alleged in a lawsuit against the department.
Fitzpatrick was touching the woman's chest when another patrol car pulled up, she said. Frustrated, he demanded that the woman lead him to her address in Downey, where she attempted to "scurry into the safety of her home," she said. Fitzpatrick, however, cornered her and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.
The woman claimed in her lawsuit that the Sheriff's Department was "deliberately indifferent" to Fitzpatrick's past history of sexual misconduct. Sheriff Lee Baca's spokesman denied that charge, but the woman received a $245,000 settlement from the department last December.
Fitzpatrick faces a maximum 14-year prison term at his sentencing Dec. 9.