Jail guard facing more sexual-assault charges
August 20, 2008
A jail guard accused of raping a female inmate in 2005 now stands accused of sexually assaulting a total of two female inmates at the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe, as well as sexual misconduct with a third.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Michael Cooper, 34, in October after an accusation from a female inmate that Cooper raped her while she was in custody about two years earlier.
In an amended criminal complaint, prosecutors filed a total of 12 felony counts against Cooper for alleged incidents with three women, including one count of rape by threat, five counts of forcible oral copulation by threat and six counts of sexual misconduct by a correctional facility employee.
Sexual-misconduct charges apply to employees of a detention facility suspected of engaging “in sexual activity with a consenting adult who is confined in a detention facility,” according to California law.
The alleged incidents occurred between December 2004 and December 2006, according to the complaint.
If Cooper is convicted, each count of rape and forcible oral copulation carries a maximum penalty of eight years in state prison, while each count of sexual misconduct carries a maximum penalty of one year in state prison.
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All the women are identified as “Jane Does” in the complaint to protect their privacy.
A preliminary hearing in the case, which is being heard in Placerville, is scheduled for today.
After his arrest, Cooper was placed on administrative leave. His current employment status with the sheriff’s office was not immediately available Tuesday.
— South Lake Tahoe police arrested a 25-year-old South Lake Tahoe man and a 28-year-old Pacifica man early Sunday morning after they allegedly tried to rob a 23-year-old South Lake Tahoe man near the base of the Heavenly Gondola.
The men pushed, head-butted and demanded money from the 23-year-old as he was walking home from work in front of Heavenly Village at about 1 a.m., said South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Marty Hale.
After the alleged victim told the men that he didn’t have any money, the men fled east but were detained by Embassy Suites security personnel and later arrested by South Lake Tahoe police and taken to the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe. The alleged victim declined medical treatment at the scene, Hale said.
— South Lake Tahoe Police arrested a 47-year-old South Lake Tahoe man after he allegedly tried to rape a female companion in the area of Blackwood Road on Aug. 6.
South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Marty Hale declined to give details of the incident, except to say alcohol was involved and the attempted rape occurred after the man and woman left a party.
As of Tuesday, a criminal complaint had not been filed in El Dorado County Superior Court.