SACRAMENTO (AP) — Federal officials on Monday charged a former Northern California police officer with civil rights violations after he was accused of raping an arrestee while on duty.

Former Anderson Police Department officer Bryan Benson was arrested in Redding on Monday. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a parking lot near the Shasta County jail in 2010.

Benson was charged federally after pleading guilty last year in state court to assault by a public officer and was sentenced to a year in prison. The plea bargain prompted a public outcry and the passing of state law that closed a loophole that allowed Benson to avoid a stiffer penalty because the alleged assault occurred before she was booked into jail.

All cases of sex between jail inmates and officers are considered non-consensual. But at the time of Benson’s plea bargain, the law didn’t extend to arrestees who were being transported to jail. Benson had alleged the sex was consensual and Shasta County prosecutors said they had no choice but to charge him with the lesser crime.

The Anderson Police Department fired Benson in 2010. The unnamed victim has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the police department that is still pending.

The new charges are in federal court and Benson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)


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