A criminal information was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging New York City Police Department Detective Oscar Sandino, a 13-year veteran of the NYPD who was assigned to the Queens North Narcotics Bureau from June 2006 until March 2008, with violating the civil rights of three women through sexual misconduct. Sandino was arrested earlier today and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
The case was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New, George Venizelos, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
As alleged in court filings by the government, in February 2008, Sandino arrested a woman identified in the Information as Jane Doe 1 (“the victim”) and her boyfriend on drug distribution charges following the execution of a search warrant at their apartment. During the arrest, Sandino forced the victim to undress in front of him in the bedroom of the apartment. Later, at the precinct, Sandino told the victim that she was going to jail and would lose her children unless she had sex with him. When the victim went to the restroom at the precinct, Sandino followed her inside and made her perform oral sex. Upon the victim’s release from custody, Sandino told her that he expected her to have sex with him at a later time. Thereafter, Sandino called the victim on numerous occasions. The victim subsequently reported Sandino’s misconduct to NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which began an investigation. In March 2008, Sandino was removed from active duty.
As further alleged in the government’s court filings, Sandino engaged in similar misconduct in the summer of 2006 in connection with the arrest of another drug dealer. On that occasion, Sandino coerced a female cousin of the drug dealer, identified in the Information as Jane Doe 2, to engage in sex acts with him based on threats he made concerning the lengthy prison sentence faced by the drug dealer.
More recently, in September 2009, Sandino allegedly engaged in lewd sexual behavior in front of a female arrestee and then forced her to raise her shirt to expose her upper body.
“This prosecution affirms our commitment to vigorously protect the constitutional right of individuals to be free from sexual misconduct by officers whose duty it is to uphold the law,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos stated, “The citizens of New York expect and deserve honest police officers. There is a trust that must exist between law enforcement and the citizens, and Detective Sandino allegedly broke that trust. Threats and coercion against anyone, whether a criminal subject or not, cannot and should not be tolerated.”
NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “I want to commend the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for its important work in uncovering police misconduct and in bringing to justice those who dishonor themselves and the department.”
Sandino has been charged with three misdemeanor counts. If convicted of all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Pamela Chen and Licha Nyiendo.