Former Harris County deputy accused of sexually assaulting woman while on duty

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A former Harris County deputy is facing charges after a woman said he sexually assaulted her last year.

Richard Cornejo, 37, was fired after he told officials he had sex with a woman while he was working, according to Harris County Constable Mark Herman.

He was arrested Thursday and charged with sexual assault and official oppression.

According to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, when the assault happened in July 2018, Cornejo was in uniform and driving a marked patrol vehicle when he found a woman sleeping in a car outside an after-hours club.

The DA's Office said Cornejo found a joint in the woman's car and then offered to follow her home, where the victim said the assault happened.

“He had a duty to protect the public,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “He instead used his badge to commit the crime of rape.”

On Nov. 5, 2018, the Houston Police Department notified the Harris County Precinct 4 Constables Office and told them that they received a complaint from a woman who said she was sexually assaulted in July 2018.

During an Internal Affairs investigation, Cornejo was identified as the deputy responsible for the assault.

Cornejo was immediately removed from patrol duties and placed on office duties during the investigation.

Cornejo admitted to having consensual sex with the woman while he was on duty, authorities said.

He was fired Nov. 9, 2018, for department policy violations, Herman said.

He faces up to 20 years for the sexual assault charge and up to one year for the official oppression charge.

The after-hours club, Palacios, closed due to multiple drug and liquor violations.