Sheriff's deputy accused of assaults on prostitutes

An Orange County sheriff's deputy has been charged with falsely imprisoning as many as 12 prostitutes and sexually assaulting them while pretending to be on official police business, the district attorney's office said Thursday.

Richard Rodriguez, 43, a deputy assigned to the Orange County Transportation Authority, is accused of handcuffing prostitutes loitering on Harbor Boulevard, putting them in his patrol car and driving them to isolated areas.

He allegedly then would sexually touch the victims or photograph them in the nude posing in different positions, prosecutors said.