Police fear ex-Harris Co. deputy accused of sexual assault may have more victims

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police said they fear a former Harris County deputy constable charged with sexual assault may have more victims.

Richard Cornejo, 37, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and official oppression.

Cornejo is accused of following a woman to her home and forcing sex with her last summer, a source told ABC13.

Criminal documents state Cornejo was indicted on Wednesday. He was taken into custody Thursday.

A second woman has also come forward saying Cornejo assaulted her.

Police believe Cornejo's appearance has changed, and that's why they say there could be more victims who just haven't come forward yet.

In July 2018, Cornjeo had a mustache, no goatee and he appeared heavier. He also wore prescription glasses at the time of the alleged assaults.

But in his booking photo from this week, Cornejo had a goatee and he was noticeably thinner.

Cornejo was first sworn as a deputy with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office in June 2016.

According to the documents, the sexual assault took place on July 28, 2018. An ABC13 source stated Cornejo found a woman passed out in a vehicle outside of an after hours nightclub. At some point, Cornejo followed the woman to her home, where the alleged encounter took place.

Constable Mark Herman told ABC13 Cornejo was fired from the constable's office late last year. He released this statement concerning the case:

"Our office was contacted by the Houston Police Department on November 5, 2018, about a female victim that had made an outcry of a sexual assault, that had occurred in July 2018, by a deputy employed with our agency. Our Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation and identified the employee as Richard Cornejo.

Cornejo was immediately removed from patrol duties and placed on office duties during the Internal Affairs Investigation. During our internal investigation the employee Richard Cornejo admitted to having consensual sex with the female while on duty. Richard Cornejo was terminated from our office on November 9, 2018 for department policy violations. Our office has, and will continue to work with the Houston Police Department on this matter."

HPD Chief Art Acevedo called what Cornejo allegedly did egregious and despicable.

"We take an oath of office as police officers, as peace officers, as trusted members of society. When you violate that oath of office... your typical person on the street didn't take an oath of office, so not only are you violating the penal code in terms of the act, you're also violating public trust. And you're also violating the oath we took to the rule of law," Acevedo said.

Acevedo said that the two victims who have come forward are courageous and without them, authorities wouldn't have been able to bring charges against Cornejo.

"When a person is wearing a uniform and a gun and a badge and they stop you and maybe you are in possession of marijuana and drinking and you shouldn't have been driving and you engage in sexual conduct, how can you have consent?" Acevedo said. "That's what official oppression is all about."

Investigators believe Cornejo committed other crimes, including exposing himself in the club parking lot during the July 2018 incident and forcing women to expose themselves.

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