A top Los Angeles Police Department Official was caught by undercover agents engaging in sexual activity in a parking lot with a female subordinate. The expose forced the LAPD official to retire prematurely from his post.
The official has been identified as Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas. His sexual act with a subordinate caught by surveillance operations may have violated the department’s policy against engaging in sexual relationships with lower-ranking officers. Other than that, Villegas may also be guilty of a criminal statute forbidding lewd conduct in public places.
Villegas left a bar with the woman and got into a car with her. Undercover officers followed them and witnessed the pair engaging in what appeared to be a sexual activity.
Villegas has been under surveillance then after the department received an anonymous letter accusing the official of misconduct.
The official has been a 29-year LAPD veteran. He was one of the three assistants of Chief Michel Moore who reported directly to him. Villegas was regarded as a long-time ally of Moore. He took care of the office support services, oversaw budget, training, recruitment and other behind-the-scenes aspects of the 10,000-strong police force.
Commission members received Villegas’ retirement papers on October 23. Before the controversy, Villegas was even one of five semifinalists in a nationwide search for the Seattle Police Department’s new chief.
The sudden retirement will be tough on Villegas as he enrolled in the city’s controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan or DROP in 2015. Villegas would have gained close to $1 million in additional pension funds had he stayed on the job until 2020. With his early retirement, Villegas will forfeit nearly half of that money.
LAPD has a long, strong policy that requires superiors and subordinates “in the same chain of command” to avoid potential conflicts. Under California law, too, lewd conduct in a public place is a misdemeanor. Doing the sexual act inside a vehicle at a public parking place presents the chance that onlookers can see such activities.