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Sheriff's Deputy Accused Of Sexually Abusing Several Female Inmates

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A sheriff's deputy is currently under internal investigation for sexually abusing female inmates, including forcing one to perform oral sex on him.The deputy, identified as Hermann Kreimann Jr., worked as a bailiff at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown L.A. and was accused by several inmates of sexual abuse, as detailed in an internal memo obtained by the L.A. Times. The first accusation came in November of 2013, when an inmate said a deputy escorting her from a courtroom to the attorney interview room handcuffed her to the wall and asked her to perform oral sex on him. She did so out of fear of retaliation—that Kreimann would "mess with her case"—she told investigators. The inmate identified Kreimann out of a photo lineup, said the memo.

After the accusation, the sheriff's office's own internal investigation bureau tracked down 23 other female inmates who appeared in the courtroom where Kreimann worked and several independently accused the deputy of sexual misconduct, ranging from propositioning the inmates, to fondling them, and even masturbating in front of them.

Investigators also collected DNA samples from the attorney interview room, finding five semen samples. Kreimann was matched while the other four remain unidentified. "He's going to have to explain why his semen was found in there," sheriff's department spokesman Commander Keith Swensson told the L.A. Times.

Kreimann worked as a bailiff at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center for at least two years before being relieved of his duties in May of 2014. He denies the allegations and said it was standard for him to escort female inmates alone. Officials say a male deputy should have never been alone with a female inmate in a location without security cameras, like Kreimann was. "It's out of policy for a reason, specifically to prevent things like this from happening," said Swensson.

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The deputy faces termination, but won't be facing any criminal charges. Two of the women, whose accounts would have been key in prosecuting Kreimann, refused to cooperate.

The sheriff's department has been credited with disciplining deputies for sexual abuse, but the case still highlights how vulnerable female inmates are while under custody. "A lot of these women are very fearful of being retaliated against," said Esther Lim, jails project director for the ACLU of Southern California. "It's definitely a population that is very, very vulnerable."