A former Los Angeles police officer is expected to spend five years behind bars after admitting to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in her Torrance bedroom last year, officials said Friday.
Kenneth Collard, 52, pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd act upon a child in the April 4 attack, during which he was still employed as a police officer, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The defendant’s plea was part of a deal negotiated with prosecutors, DA’s spokesperson Greg Risling confirmed.
Two other counts Collard had been facing — a third count of lewd acts and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object — were apparently dropped.
Officials have said Collard is friends with the teen victim’s parents, and a law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times that the girl is the daughter of another LAPD police officer.
Collard had been out socializing with friends and followed their advice to spend the night at his coworker’s home rather than drive back to his own residence in Riverside, the newspaper reported.
In the middle of the night, Collard went into the girl’s bedroom and sexually assaulted her.
He was charged in the attack after a thorough investigation that involved forensic evidence, according to Torrance police.
Collard resigned from his post at LAPD shortly after being charged, the agency said in a statement, adding that the guilty plea “closes a disturbing chapter” for the department.
“When any individual harms a child it is tragic, but when an officer betrays the trust of the residents he or she has sworn to protect it is unforgivable,” the emailed statement read. “Collard tarnished the badge that we all wear and the Department remains committed to building faith in our professionalism and integrity.”
Collard had been with the department 10 years and was assigned to the West L.A. station, according to the Times.
The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19. The five-year state prison sentence he’s expected to face is down from a maximum penalty of 32 years had he been convicted on all four original counts.
Collard is one of at least four men sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting women in the past 14 months.
In February 2018 former officers Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols pleaded no contest to forcibly raping multiple women while on duty, and this January the city agreed to pay $1.8 million to one of the victims.
Last August, former officer Robert Cain pleaded no contest to statutory rape in the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old member of the department’s cadet program. In her victim statement, the teen called Cain a “monster” and said she “no longer felt safe around anyone.”