$500K bond for cops accused of sex assault

May 12, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Officers Paul Clavijo, and Juan Vasquez, both 38, are charged with criminal sexual assault and official misconduct. Clavijo is also charged in a second incident involving the alleged sexual assault of a woman at her home. In both instances, the women picked Clavijo out of a lineup.

Both men, who are 10-year veterans of the Chicago Police Department, appeared in court Thursday morning.

It was in the early morning hours of March 30th that the officers allegedly picked up a 22-year-old woman in Wrigleyville, her blood alcohol level nearly five times the legal limit to drive. Then they allegedly drove to a liquor store.

Prosecutors say while Vasquez was in the store buying vodka, Clavijo had sex with the woman in the front seat of a marked police SUV. Then, according to prosecutors, the men drove her home to Rogers Park, which is outside of their police district. There, the three allegedly played strip poker and took off their clothes before the woman began screaming to neighbors that she had been raped.

Clavijo is also charged for sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman on March 10. Prosecutors say Clavijo and his partner gave the woman a ride home. Once they arrived at her house, they say Clavijo forced her on the bed facedown and assaulted her.

In court Thursday, prosecutors painted Clavijo and Vasquez as serial predators armed, uniformed officers in marked police vehicles, using their authority to prey on women.

"They victimized these women and not only violated but essentially destroyed their oath of office," said Anita Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney. "This type of conduct will not stand. It will not be tolerated, and it will be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

"This is a sad day because of the immeasurable damage that has been done to individuals, to multiple families, and the community," said Terry Hillard, interim Chicago police superintendent.

The officers' attorneys said no crime had been committed.

"Were there some bad decision made? Absolutely. But as far as this being criminal, it's not a criminal incident," said Dan Herbert, Vasquez's attorney.

"Paul Clavijo is a highly-regarded police officer who did not force himself on anyone," said Jed Stone, Clavijo's attorney.

But the alleged victim's attorney denied the sex was consensual and said his client felt threatened.

"These are on-duty police officers. They were armed with guns, and she was a young woman who was not in a situation where she had a choice," said Jon Loevy, victim's attorney.

Vasquez's neighbor said the criminal charges do not fit the man she knows.

"I'm shocked. Really, totally shocked. I would never think it of him, never in a million years. He's such a nice guy," said Linda Dziedzic, neighbor.

Vasquez posted bond late Thursday and left the Cook County Jail where Clavijo is still in custody. Both men have been stripped of their police powers but officially remain on the force.

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