Texas cop gets 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting 2 men in his custody

A former cop who was found guilty of sexually assaulting two inmates at a Texas police station will spend 30 years behind bars, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Matthew Lee Sepulveda, 26, escorted each man from a jail cell to an office in the same building and performed oral sex on them during separate incidents, the victims told a jury at a two-day trial earlier this year. One of the victims was only 17 at the time.

The shocking abuse happened during Sepulveda’s brief stint as an officer for the Progreso Police Department, about 20 miles southeast of McAllen, near the border with Mexico.

The younger victim told the jury he was taken into custody after being unable to contact his parents following a traffic stop in which he was a passenger, according to prosecutors. He said the cop took him to an office and began asking question of a sexual nature before assaulting him.

Matthew Lee Sepulveda

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The adult victim described a similar experience, telling the jury that he was “scared and did not think he could leave” the room during the abuse, according to the Justice Department, which led the investigation. The evidence also showed Sepulveda’s DNA on that victim’s underwear, authorities said.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States are deeply committed to fulfilling their oath to serve and protect our community,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said in a statement Tuesday. “Sepulveda betrayed this oath by preying on his victims, exploiting his authority to serve his own personal, depraved interests.”

Sepulveda was convicted on two counts of violating the civil rights of a person under his custody, with the second count resulting in bodily injury and including attempted aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse and kidnapping.

U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane sentenced him to 360 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He will remain in custody pending transfer to a federal prison facility that is yet to be determined.

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