Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

LAPD officer is convicted of sexual assault

March 14, 2011 |  4:25 pm

A 43-year-old Los Angeles Police officer was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting one young woman and soliciting sex from another while he was on duty.

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

Immediately after the verdict was read, Mecano was handcuffed and remanded to jail by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14.

He faces nearly 10 years in state prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Natalie Adomian of the Justice System Integrity Division, who prosecuted the case.

Adomian 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, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

The second incident occurred nearly two weeks 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 sexually assaulted her near the Palisades Branch Library, Adomian said. She reported the incident to authorities.

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

-- Richard Winton