Not enough evidence to charge suspect in attacks on disabled women, prosecutors say
Los Angeles County prosecutors said they are not prepared to charge one of at least eight men allegedly shown on video sexually assaulting disabled women, saying they need evidence indicating the acts were not consensual.
Ernie Lloyd, 37, of Los Angeles was arrested Saturday after he turned himself in to Los Angeles police in Hollywood in connection with the assault of an unidentified 25-year-old victim. The graphic video shows men having sex with women, many of whom appear to be disabled, with some in wheelchairs and wearing diapers.
"In order to effect a filing, we would either have to prove that the victim did not consent to the sexual acts or she was unable to consent to the sexual acts," the district attorney's office wrote. "There is insufficient evidence to prove either of these theories beyond a reasonable doubt."
Sheriff's deputies were instructed by prosecutors to obtain "any and all medical records" of the victim "regarding her capacity and disabilities," as well as identifying locations, additional suspects and additional victims.
Sheriff's detectives described Lloyd as "Suspect No. 1" in a series of images released last week by investigators in connection with the assaults.
But county prosecutors said they needed more information such as medical records that would describe the woman's mental capacity in order to file charges.
The anonymous tipster who unleashed an investigation into the sexual abuse of at least 10 severely disabled women by handing over more than 100 hours of video of the attacks met with Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives over the weekend, sheriff's officials said Monday.
The setback comes a day after sheriff's investigators announced that they had interviewed an informant, who was not identified by detectives because he feared for his safety, who provided them with the video of the assaults that took place between 2007 and 2009 at care facilities in the Southern California area.
Sheriff's officials announced over the weekend they had arrested Lloyd and located a second suspect in state prison. Both are believed to be part of a group that allegedly filmed and sexually assaulted the severely disabled women.
The other man that sheriff's officials alleged participated in the assaults has been identified as Bert Hicks of Los Angeles. Hicks is currently serving a sentence in Tehachapi state prison until 2012. An LAPD detective who handled a previous case in which Hicks was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a dependent adult identified Hicks to sheriff's investigators.
Sheriff's officials said Hicks is Suspect No. 4 in the images released last week.
The investigation began in March when a package was left at sheriff’s headquarters with 100 hours of video footage showing severely disabled women, many in diapers, being sexually assaulted by unknown men.
Although authorities were confident the scenes were shot in residential care facilities, it was unclear if they were in Los Angeles County. Much of the footage is so grainy that only the faces of four of the estimated 10 men could be seen.
-- Andrew Blankstein