Ex-LAPD officer sentenced to 6 years in prison for off-duty rape

WARNING: The details of this story are graphic.

A now-former Los Angeles police officer convicted of raping a woman while he was off-duty was sentenced Thursday to six years in state prison.

Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba said William Alexander Rodriguez, 37, committed a "forcible, violent act" and was a sworn police officer -- albeit off-duty at the time -- and left the victim "crying and bleeding" without any transportation near an area known for prostitution.

"Mr. Rodriguez's intent was clearly to get away with it," Torrealba said.

The judge also ordered Rodriguez to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and not to have any contact with the victim for the next decade. She also rejected the defense's bid for a new trial and told the defendant near the end of the hearing that she hopes he'll use the time during his prison term to reflect on his actions and to take responsibility for them.

The woman's uncle called what had happened "a nightmare" and told the defendant, "I hope you understand what you did was wrong."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: LAPD officer charged with raping two women while off-duty

Rodriguez --who testified in his own defense -- was convicted June 22 of forcible rape in connection with the Aug. 16, 2015, attack on the woman, who told jurors that she left a Hollywood nightclub after drinking a significant amount of alcohol and agreed to accept a ride from Rodriguez in an effort to find her truck in South Los Angeles, according to the prosecution's sentencing memorandum.

"Defendant eventually drove her to a secluded location in the middle of the night, not far from a well-known prostitution track on Figueroa Street, where he forcibly raped her before throwing her out of his car and fleeing the scene," Deputy District Attorneys Lana Barnett and Natalie Schachner wrote in requesting the six-year prison term. "She was left injured and bleeding, begging strangers for help."

The woman, referred to only as "Jane Doe 1," was a virgin, and Rodriguez told jurors during his trial that he had consensual sex with the woman, according to the prosecution's sentencing memo.

"Defendant's betrayal of the oath he took to serve and protect and the trust placed in him by the community, even in his off-duty conduct, reasonably relates to the circumstances under which the crime was committed and makes his conduct significantly more egregious," the prosecutors wrote.

Rodriguez's attorney, James Blatt, told the judge that his client had "lived an outstanding life in many regards," saying he had served as a U.S. Marine before joining the Los Angeles Police Department.

In his sentencing memorandum, the defense lawyer wrote that "Mr. Rodriguez executed extremely poor judgment, and the circumstances leading to the incident are unlikely to recur." He asked for the lesser sentence of three years in state prison, echoing a request made by one of the defendant's sisters in a letter to the judge for the "minimum sentence."

Jurors acquitted Rodriguez of a charge alleging that he raped a female acquaintance at his home in November 2018, along with a charge of rape of an intoxicated victim involving the 2015 attack. Blatt noted outside court that his client could have faced a potential life prison sentence if he had additionally been convicted of those charges.

Authorities said police investigating the alleged attack in 2018 entered Rodriguez's DNA into the state's DNA database, resulting in a "cold hit" notification involving the 2015 attack.

Rodriguez was relieved of his police powers when he was arrested in 2019. He has since been terminated by the LAPD, according to his attorney.

He was released on bond shortly after his arrest and then was ordered to be taken into custody again after the jury's verdict.

"It is extremely unfortunate that based upon this incident his life will never be the same," Rodriguez's attorney said outside court after the sentencing.

In a statement shortly after Rodriguez was convicted, District Attorney George Gascón said that "justice has been served for one of the victims of a heinous crime committed by a police officer who was entrusted with protecting and serving our community."

"While we are disappointed that the defendant was not found guilty on the count of rape on a second victim, we want to commend the bravery of both victims who came forward to report these crimes. We understand that coming forward and testifying in court is not easy, and we appreciate their courage in doing so," the district attorney said.