SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A former California police officer has been charged with more than a dozen counts of sexual assault and other crimes after misconduct allegations by multiple people spurred an internal affairs investigation at the Stockton Police Department.
Former Stockton Police Sgt. Nicholas Bloed was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with 15 counts, including assault while serving as an officer, forcible oral copulation, the pursuit of bribes and prostitution. The San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office filed the charges with the Superior Court of the State of California.
“Officers have the ability to take your liberty, and when they threaten to use that power to force vulnerable victims to cooperate for their own devious purposes, it castes a long shadow over the entire profession,” said Tori Verber Salazar, the county's district attorney, in a statement Thursday.
Bloed is at the San Joaquin County Jail as of Thursday. His next scheduled court date is Monday.
Bloed, who was placed on administrative leave in May, has not been working for the police department since last month, said department spokesman Joe Silva. The department would not disclose results of its investigation or whether he was fired. Silva declined to comment on Bloed’s arrest since he’s no longer with the department.
Allen Sawyer, a lawyer representing Bloed, said he resigned from the police department after making a “lapse in judgement” by engaging in what Bloed alleges was consensual sexual activity with people he met through his role as an officer.
“It may have been a horrible lapse of judgment. But it was not the criminal act that you see now,” Sawyer said of the charges.
Bloed, who graduated from the Ray Simon Police Academy in 2002, was hired by the Stockton Police Department in 2008 after serving as an officer in Modesto, California. He's worked as a patrol officer, motor officer and field training officer.
At least three women made sexual misconduct claims against Bloed this spring, alleging he abused his power as an officer to take advantage of them. In one case, a woman is alleging Bloed pulled her vehicle over, later made her pose for photographs, and eventually had unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The other two women also allege he raped them while still with the police department, said Dan Gilleon, a lawyer representing the three women.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.
Gilleon said he had not seen the charging document as of Thursday morning and therefore couldn't confirm whether any of the confidential victims mentioned refer to his clients. The document mentions eight victims of the various crimes Bloed is being charged with.
Gilleon described the case as a “system-wide failure” by the police department. He said if any officials within the police department are found to have ignored knowledge of accusations against Bloed, they should be fired.
Sexual misconduct is one of the most prevalent complaints against law enforcement officials. In a 2015 investigation, the Associated Press discovered that about 1,000 officers lost their licenses in a six-year period for various sex crimes or sexual misconduct, including rape, possession of child pornography, and having on-duty intercourse.
In a statement Wednesday, the Stockton Police Officers Association said the group was “extremely disappointed” to hear about Bloed's arrest.
“The charges and allegations against him, if proven true, are abhorrent and reprehensible,” the group said. “These accusations in no way reflect the high standards and values of this association and the profession of law enforcement.”
Sophie Austin is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter at: twitter.com/sophieadanna