2nd Suspect Surrenders In Disabled Abuse Case
LOS ANGELES (AP) –– A second suspect in the videotaped sexual assaults of severely disabled women has been arrested after surrendering to police, and detectives are working through an “overwhelming” number of good tips as they seek at least two others, authorities said Sunday.
Ernie Lloyd, 27, of Los Angeles, appeared at a Hollywood police station Saturday and announced he had seen himself on the news and knew he was wanted, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Parker said. Police took him to the West Hollywood sheriff’s station where he was arrested.
Parker said police officers recognized Lloyd from photos and artist sketches of four men that were gleaned from more than 100 hours of video delivered to sheriff’s headquarters last year, and deputies had identified him before he turned himself in.
Lloyd was being held on $100,000 bail. The sheriff’s office said it didn’t know if he had retained a lawyer.
As many as 10 suspects could have been involved in the assaults, investigators said.
Police had identified one suspect, 42-year-old Bert Hicks, who is serving time at Tehachapi State Prison on two felony sex counts and two abuse counts.
Hicks, a former worker at a Los Angeles care facility, is scheduled for release in 2012, according to sheriff’s officials.
The videos, received in the mail by authorities last March, show men sexually assaulting physically and mentally disabled women, some of them in diapers. Officials said it took months for investigators to digitally enhance the grainy footage and produce pictures and artist sketches of four of the suspects.
Parker said the tip line set up for the case was overloaded with the huge number of tips and inquiries coming in, just as investigators had hoped when making the information public.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response of quality information that has reached the detectives and is keeping them very, very busy,” Parker said. “They’re not getting any sleep. This is exactly what we wanted.”
Detectives believe the assaults occurred in 2007 or earlier, at a Los Angeles residential care facility where Lloyd was living. The name of the institution was not given, and it was unknown whether it was the same facility where Hicks worked.
Detectives also believe they have identified one of the victims, a former resident of the facility where Lloyd lived, and they are working to track her down.
Sgt. Dan Scott of the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau says he and other detectives “will not stop until we find her.”
“The best thing we can do for everyone, especially the victims, is to diligently follow every lead, work to find and protect the victims, arrest the suspects, and somehow bring some justice to these profoundly disturbing crimes,” Scott said in a statement.
The footage was not released to the public, but authorities described seeing horrific acts. In one video, an obese man in a wheelchair is seen pushing himself into a small bedroom while wearing a diaper. His back is covered in scars and he appears to be a paraplegic resident of a care facility.
The man pulls himself onto a woman’s bed, removes his own and her diaper, then assaults her, authorities said.
The videos came from an anonymous tipster who said a customer purchased a laptop on the streets of Inglewood and brought it to him to wipe the hard drive. Before doing so, he copied the videos and gave them to authorities.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)