Customs officer charged with rape in S. California

WESTMINSTER, Calif. — A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been charged with rape in an attack in Southern California that authorities say occurred while he was off-duty.

Prosecutors say 31-year-old Miguel Lerma Jr. is set to be arraigned April 18 on charges of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and rape by use of drugs.

Lerma’s arraignment was scheduled for Monday but was continued. He will be assigned a public defender.

Lerma is accused of sexually assaulting a woman last November after picking her up on a Santa Ana street and driving her to a cul-de-sac.

Garden Grove police say DNA evidence also tied Lerma to a 2009 sexual assault in Long Beach.

Lerma was arrested Thursday and has been placed on administrative leave from Customs and Border Protection.

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