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LAPD officer sentenced to prison for sexual assaulting one woman, soliciting sex from another

A Los Angeles Police officer convicted of sexually assaulting one young woman and soliciting sex from another while on duty was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in state prison Thursday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry also ordered Russell Mecano, a 10-year veteran officer, to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Before sentencing Mecano, Perry heard about the pain and anguish he inflicted on the woman who was 18 at time she was assaulted. She told the judge she had been the victim of a "senseless and heartless" crime that would affect the rest of her life.

A jury of nine men and three women deliberated about two hours March 14 before finding Mecano guilty of one misdemeanor count of solicitation and one felony count each of sexual battery and penetration with a foreign object by a public safety official and penetration with a foreign object by force or duress.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Natalie Adomian, of the Justice System Integrity Division, said Mecano, a patrol officer in West Los Angeles, propositioned a 19-year-old homeless woman after her arrest on suspicion of battery in October 2007. Mecano gave the young woman $200 in cash and told her to meet him at the Holiday Inn near the West Los Angeles Station, the prosecutor said. Instead, she asked a cab driver to take her to the beach. She reported the incident on March 16, 2008, to Santa Monica police and later to the LAPD.

The second incident occurred two months after the woman reported the first case.

On May 28, 2008, Mecano told an 18-year-old female he would not arrest her on suspicion of possessing a marijuana pipe if she had sex with him, prosecutors said. He initially made her promise to meet him at a nearby Holiday Inn but then sexually assaulted her out of sight behind the Palisades Branch library, Adomian said. The young woman reported the incident to authorities.

Mecano was arrested on Oct. 16, 2008, the same day the Grand Jury returned an indictment.

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-- Richard Winton

 
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