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A former Colorado cop spent just 90 days in jail for handcuffing and raping a woman when he was on duty in 2017. Now, almost a year later, the Justice Department slapped him with federal charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado announced Monday that they’re now pursuing new civil rights charges against Curtis Lee Arganbright, who was a senior police officer with the Denver-area suburb of Westminster at the time of the alleged assault. The FBI had already filed a search warrant in June to gather the 42-year-old officer’s uniform and handcuffs as evidence.
If convicted of the new charges, Arganbright could face up to 10 years in prison. He’s currently on probation.
The assault allegations only cost Arganbright his job and 90 days in jail after he agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact and misconduct last October. His short sentence drew local outrage.
On an early morning in August 2017, Arganbright pulled over his squad car near the suburb of Broomfield so he could handcuff and rape the woman he was supposed to be escorting home. The 36-year-old was only with him because the hospital where she was being treated for intoxication accused her of stealing items from the emergency room, and agreed not to press charges if police made sure she got home safely.
Arganbright then dropped the woman off, gave her his business card, and said she “better not tell anyone about this,” according to an affidavit obtained by KUSA, an NBC affiliate in Denver.
She went back to the same hospital the day after the assault and requested a rape kit examination, saying the police officer raped her, according to KUSA. Arganbright was arrested days later. But the woman later refused to testify in court, according to the Colorado Sun. Her mother told the court how traumatized she was in her stead.
“Understand, please, this person has given my family and my daughter a life sentence,” the woman’s mother told District Judge Michael Goodbee during a sentencing hearing last November, according to the Associated Press.
When the new civil rights charges were filed Monday, Arganbright waived his right to an indictment at a hearing in federal court, according to the Washington Post. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is also prosecuting the case along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Colorado.
Cover image: (Katja Kircher via Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.