Woman Who Says She Was Raped by O.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Awarded $2.25 Million

A woman who says she was raped by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been awarded $2.25 million because of a county policy that allowed him to remain on the job despite a separate claim of sexual assault two months prior.

Deputy Nicholas Lee Caropino was already under criminal investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting an 18-year-old girl when Alexa Curtin says he raped her during a traffic stop in 2014. But because of a department policy on internal investigations, Caropino was still on patrols.

A District Attorney’s investigation into Caropino’s conduct resulted in no charges. But, during the civil trial, the judge left little doubt that the rape actually occurred. The department policy that allowed him to stay on made the county liable for the rape, jurors concluded.

Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who is also running for district attorney, has urged the sheriff’s department to change its policy and place deputies on leave whenever a criminal investigation is pending.

Documents show Caropino was dismissed in Aug. 2015.


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