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The list of women claiming former Queens Detective Oscar Sandino coerced them into sexual acts continued to grow as FBI officials said Friday a fourth woman had come forward claiming she was blackmailed by him.
An FBI official who asked to remain anonymous declined to give the woman’s age or describe when the incident occurred, but said additional charges may be brought against Sandino in his pending federal civil rights case.
The FBI typically has 30 days to amend a criminal indictment,” the official said. “They can always supersede an indictment file with an additional charge,” he said.
Sandino, 37, a 13-year veteran who worked in the Queens Narcotics Bureau South, pleaded not guilty May 18 to three counts of misdemeanor civil rights violations. Federal authorities said the original three counts were for alleged attacks on three women. He was released on a $250,000 bond. If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in prison.
The federal investigation was initiated after an Elmhurst woman reported Sandino to the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau in March 2008 following an allegedly coerced sexual assault about one month before that.
The woman told police Sandino raided her Elmhurst apartment along with other officers during a drug investigation involving her then-boyfriend, who was not present. She said Sandino later propositioned her for sex, molesting and sodomizing her in a police station bathroom stall and threatening to have her children seized by the city Administration for Children’s Services if she did not agree to have sex with him, according to a civil lawsuit complaint she filed last year.
Kevin Ryan, spokesman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, said police began investigating one of the alleged incidents after it was reported to the Internal Affairs Bureau, but halted that investigation once federal prosecutors became involved.
“Because [Sandino] is being charged with civil rights violations, we cannot charge him with the underlying crimes because that’s what the [federal] charges are based on,” Ryan said. “We can’t charge him with the same crime if they charge him with it federally. We cannot charge him locally on the same set of facts.”
Ryan said the prosecutor turned the investigation over to federal authorities once it was discovered Sandino may have assaulted multiple women. Two other accusers came forward after the February incident was reported.
“One of the incidents is outside our jurisdiction,” he said. “When we learned of the federal involvement in this investigation, we had originally started an investigation and we referred our findings to them.”
Investigators previously said Sandino engaged in “sexual misconduct” on at least three separate occasions with women he arrested during drug investigations.
In the February 2008 incident, the alleged female victim claimed Sandino took her to a bedroom in the back of her apartment and forced her to undress while he watched.
In a police vehicle later that evening, he asked her, “What are you willing to do for your kids?” and added in Spanish, “How did your children come into the world ... you had to be bedded,” he said, later adding, “You don’t have to give me your answer now,” according to the woman’s civil complaint.
Some news reports indicate the Elmhurst woman was forced to perform oral sex on Sandino.
She was never charged with a crime for the incident, according to her attorney.
Reach Reporter Chauncey Alcorn by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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