Former police officer will get 30 years for violating the civil rights of two males | USAO-SDTX
McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old former police officer was rushed to a federal prison after sexually abusing two men in his care, US Attorney General Jennifer B. Lowery said.
A federal jury deliberated for about two hours before pronouncing guilty convictions on March 10 against Matthew Lee Sepulveda, Edinburgh, for two civil rights violations after a two-day trial.
Today, US District Judge Randy Crane ordered Sepulveda to serve a 360-month prison sentence, immediately followed by five years of supervised release. In delivering the sentence, Judge Crane commented on the shame and embarrassment of law enforcement agencies as a result of Sepulveda’s actions. The court also noted its disappointment with Sepulveda’s lack of empathy for the victims.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States are determined to keep their oaths and serve and protect our community,” said FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs. “Sepulveda has betrayed this oath by exploiting its victims and using its authority to serve its own personal, corrupt interests.”
Sepulveda served as a law enforcement officer at the Progreso Police Department from April 17 to July 2, 2019. The jury learned that Sepulveda, under his supervision, as a uniformed police officer, performed oral sex with two victims while they were in his care.
At the trial, the jury heard from the two men.
The first stated that after his arrest, Sepulveda took him out of the prison cell and escorted him to another police office. Sepulveda then began asking him questions of a sexual nature and performing oral sex with him. The victim testified because Sepulveda was a police officer, he was scared and didn’t think he could go.
The evidence showed that Sepulveda’s DNA was found on the victim’s underwear. The jury also heard that Sepulveda retrospectively recorded the victim’s arrest and fall.
The second victim, who was only 17 years old at the time, was taken to the police because he was unable to reach his parents after a traffic control during which he was a passenger. He described how Sepulveda took him to a police office where he started asking the victim questions of a sexual nature and also performing oral sex with the victim.
The defense tried to portray one of the victims as a liar and challenged some of the evidence. The jury was not convinced and found Sepulveda guilty of two human rights violations. They also found that his behavior resulted in bodily harm in the second count, including attempted serious sexual abuse, serious sexual abuse, and kidnapping.
Sepulveda will remain on remand pending transfer to a US Bureau of Prisons facility, which will be determined in the near future.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the FBI. US assistant attorneys Sarina S. DiPiazza and Angel Castro are pursuing the case.