Two of the four suspects who are visible in more than 100 hours of videotape as they sexually assaulted severely disabled women, many of whom just "lay there" as they were attacked, have been identified, authorities announced.
Authorities announced today that the Los Angeles Police Department recognized two of the suspects on the tapes, evidence that detectives have described as some of the most "disturbing" images they've ever seen.
The suspects have not been identified to the public, but according to police, the individuals were investigated in 2007 and 2009, which resulted in one sexual assault conviction. Other cases involving these two suspects involved neglect, fiduciary crimes and sexual assault, but no videos.
"Detectives from the Special Victims Bureau are meeting with LAPD detectives today to collaborate on these cases in an effort to identify the remaining suspects and victims," said a statement issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau is looking for at least two more men in the brutal attacks on as many as ten disabled women, many of whom appear to be patients at residential care facilities.
According to Sgt. Daniel Scott, a package of 11 DVDs with more than 100 hours of video on them was left anonymously at the sheriff's office in March. Det. Ron Anderson, charged with viewing the material, quickly found that the material was like nothing he'd ever seen before.
"What he found was one of the most disturbing sets of images he's ever encountered in his long career," said Scott at a press conference late Thursday. "We have multiple suspects assaulting multiple adult female victims between the ages of 20 and 40."
"These victims are severely disabled and many of them appear unable to move and most of them are wearing diapers," said Scott.
"After one horrendous sexual assault, one of the victims was picked up and thrown back into the wheelchair," said Scott.
Det. Anderson described a video in which an individual who appears to be a paraplegic himself assaults another disabled patient.
"He used his arms to hoist himself up on the bed, removed his diaper and the diaper of his victim, and engaged her in sexual assault," said Anderson. "Then he hoisted himself on the floor, scooted on the floor, out the doorway and disappeared before returning to the room and reestablishing himself in the wheelchair."
"These suspects and their activity is so heinous it shocked the conscious," said Anderson. "In my career I regularly view adult pornography...child pornography...but when this came to me this was really shocking."
"Because we're supposed to defend the defenseless, and these people are truly defenseless they can't fight off their attackers," he said.
Caught on Tape: Disabled Women Being Assaulted
Scott says authorities are hoping that the individual who dropped the DVDs at the sheriff's department will also come forward.
A note left with the package said the person had been asked by a "black male in Los Angeles" to clean the hard drive of a computer. While doing the job, the individual found the disturbing images and made copies of them on DVDs, which he then left with authorities, Scott said.
Asked why it took authorities nearly a year to come forward with the case, Scott said that the tapes, which were delivered in March 2010, needed to be enhanced because of their poor quality.
"We wanted to put together the best package we could and it takes a lot of time to do enhancing and go through all of these images," he said. "It's over 100 hours of very poor-quality video."
It is not clear where the assaults took place, but Scott said authorities have determined from the decor and the clothing worn in the videos that at least some of them were at a residential care facility or in hospital settings over the past three years. One of the suspects had "2008" printed on his t-shirt, he added.
"The video appears to come from different sources, some is security camera footage from a still camera mounted in the room and some is video footage that is handheld and appears that an accomplice, one of the suspects, is holding it for another [suspect]," said Scott.
Detectives believe the suspects were employees at the places where the videos were shot, according to Scott, due to their "behavior" and the way they interacted with one another.
Anyone with information regarding the suspects or the victims is asked to call (866) 247-5877.