STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The San Joaquin County District Attorney announced Thursday that a correctional officer has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexual assault.
DA Tori Verber Salazar announced Alex Tafoya, a correctional officer at San Joaquin County Jail, was arraigned Thursday on multiple charges that include: oral copulation by force; sexual penetration by force; false imprisonment by violence, fraud or deceit; and assault by a police officer.
According to the DA’s office, the alleged incident or incidents occurred at the jail.
“I was shocked by the accusation, but we take every accusation like this serious,” San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow said.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office reported it learned of the accusations in early July and Tafoya was placed on administrative leave.
“When we have somebody who goes out and intentially tries to hurt other people, well they are nothing but a bad person that we try to go after just as strongly as we would any other bad person,” Withrow said.
Tafoya has been with the sheriff’s office for some time. He participated in a Battle of the Badges boxing match in 2019.
“But it’s just very disheartening when someone does something like this or anything else that brings dishonor to us,” Withrow said.
The sheriff’s office said Tafoya will remain in jail leading up to and over the course of his trial.
“We must protect women from sexual violence irrespective of their circumstance,” Salazar said in a release. “When law enforcement officers violate their oath and authority and abuse members of the community, they will be held accountable. The District Attorney’s Office commends the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for believing victims, conducting a thorough investigation, and for partnering with our office to seek justice.”
The arraignment comes just over two months after San Joaquin County Jail correctional officer Zachary Simmons was convicted of similar charges. At the time of his arrest, prosecutors contended that Simmons raped an inmate in 2015 and committed other sex crimes with two inmates in 2015 and 2018.