Details emerge in Tahoe inmate rape allegation
A female incarcerated at El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe two years ago came forward last week after she was re-incarcerated and saw the guard whom she claims raped her, authorities reported Monday.
Custodial Officer Michael Cooper, 33, an employee of the jail for five years, was arrested based on statements made by the inmate, said Bryan Golmitz, spokesman for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Cooper posted a $50,000 bond Friday.
The female victim, in her 20s, had reported to El Dorado Custodial staff that she had been raped by Cooper while incarcerated at the South Lake Tahoe county jail approximately two years ago, Golmitz said. She did not report the rape at that time.
“It is our belief that by seeing the officer again it motivated her to come forward,” Golmitz told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has taken all necessary measures to assure the safety of the victim, who is currently in custody on unrelated charges, Golmitz said. The victim was provided with assistance and resource information.
“El Dorado County sheriff investigators worked quickly to determine initial facts of this case and collected evidence, which led to the immediate arrest of Michael Cooper,” Golmitz said. “This is an ongoing investigation.”
A press release stated that El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has zero tolerance for criminal acts committed by its employees and will aggressively pursue the prosecution of those that violate the law.
A crime like the one alleged tarnishes all law enforcement officers, Golmitz added.
“The one thing law enforcement has is public trust. This puts a black eye on that,” he said. “(Cooper) is on administrative leave and the Sheriff’s Office is moving forward for Mr. Cooper’s termination.”
Cooper was booked into the El Dorado County jail in Placerville and placed on administrative leave. He was booked on two felony counts of using his authority and position as a custodial officer to accomplish an act of rape and using his position to accomplish a lewd or lascivious act.