Detectives uncover eight victims of sexual crimes and misconduct by Sanger officer

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Saturday, July 10, 2021
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The investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by a Sanger police officer has uncovered a lot of new victims.

SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) -- The investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by a Sanger police officer has uncovered a lot of new victims.

One of them is telling her story to Action News.

What started with a single complaint of sexual battery is now eight and counting, and I talked to one who said someone should've stopped this years ago.

Officer JD Torrence first appeared in a Sanger woman's life when a neighbor complained about her dog.

RELATED: More women report incidents with Sanger police officer arrested for sexual battery

By the next day, he started texting her, calling her, and passing by her house frequently, although he mostly ignored her boyfriend.

"At first, we were happy with it," her boyfriend said. "It seemed like we had a police officer just for our own safety that was just looking out for us."

That feeling didn't last long.

"He started sending me messages that were inappropriate, perverted, of a sexual nature," the woman said.

She and her boyfriend asked to remain anonymous because they feel at risk.

They tried to file a complaint against Officer Torrence in 2016 and felt like nobody at the police department believed them.

When they saw news of Torrence's arrest five years later, they felt vindicated but upset all over again.

"If they just followed through on their investigation, it didn't have to happen," the boyfriend said.

"It could've been stopped five years ago," said the woman.

Fresno County sheriff's deputies talked to her Thursday, the day after a press conference announcing the initial charges.

Detectives say they've identified eight separate victims. They believe Torrence committed sexual crimes against five of them and misconduct in the other three cases.

They say he had a pattern and profiled victims, usually women in vulnerable legal positions.

"One of the things we're seeing consistently with our victims is there was a severe misuse of power, and that there were ways he would tell these women things to make them feel like they couldn't report it or like they would get in trouble if they reported it," said Lt. Brandon Pursell of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives say that's not true: Victims can come forward safely now without worrying about legal trouble.

"They were not in the wrong," said Lt. Pursell. "If you were a victim, you don't have to be afraid of us. You don't have to feel like you're going to be further victimized. You're a victim and you deserve justice."

Anyone who wants to make a report can call the sheriff's office and Sgt. Chad Stokes at (559)600-8144.

An attorney for Torrence told us Friday he's aware of the additional allegations.

"Given the fact that the Sheriff and Chief have already determined my clients guilt at this point I think it is prudent to not give a comment at this time," said Robert Baumann in an email. "Until the department can provide the evidence they are relying upon we are unable to make any comments."