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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Inmates

Giancarlo Scotti, a deputy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a San Pedro resident, was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of two counts of rape under color of authority and oral copulation under color of authority. His arrest followed just hours after female inmates at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood filed a complaint and a subsequent investigation showed two alleged victims.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced at a news conference at the Los Angeles Hall of Justice that Scotti remains the only individual under investigation as there is no evidence of any other involvement at this time. McDonnell called the alleged crimes "a violation of public trust and of the law."

According to the complaint that sparked the investigation, the assault occurred early Wednesday morning. The adult female victims reported the assaults to a teaching instructor that same morning, explaining that Scotti was alone with both women in a cell for an hour. At this time, it is unknown whether Scotti used physical force or his influence as a deputy to initiate the attacks. 

Under federal and state law, incarcerated inmates cannot legally consent to intercourse with deputies. The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit law enforcement officers from using the power of their positions to influence vulnerable victims. Federal guidelines prohibit leaving female inmates alone in a cell with male guards absent emergency circumstances. Most guards at the Century Regional Detention Facility are female. 

Scotti's arrest follows other high-profile misconduct allegations against Los Angeles law enforcement officers; including LAPD Officer Robert Cain's alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old member of the cadet program in June and Sergeant Michael Spina's alleged sexual battery and false imprisonment claims from last month. 

The Prison Rape Elimination Act, signed into law in 2003, requires facilities to pass an audit every three years to be compliant with the law. The legislation is an attempt to protect inmates from sexual assault. Currently, no Los Angeles county facility has undergone an audit, due to a shortage of auditors. The Century detention facility is currently scheduled for a "test audit" next month before a full review. 

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