Prosecutors are urging more possible victims to come forward if they recognize a former Hedwig Village police officer accused of offering special treatment to a woman in exchange for sexual favors while he was still employed with the police agency.
“We know that sexual predators who use a badge to coerce vulnerable people generally do it over and over again,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “We have to get the word out to possible victims to come forward and speak up. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary and important.”
Ogg stressed that regardless of a person’s immigration status or criminal history, they should not fear reporting a crime.
“We do not ask victims how they came to the United States,” she said. “We treat everyone equally when it comes to seeking justice.”
A grand jury recently indicted Richard Hernandez, 37, for Official Oppression.
In July 2020, Hernandez, pulled over a woman who was driving alone for a traffic stop. When he saw the woman had open warrants, he said he wouldn’t arrest her in exchange for sexual favors, said Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Smith of the Public Corruption Division.
The woman acted like a willing participant and then once Hernandez stepped far enough from her vehicle, she fled the scene, Smith said. She later reported the incident to police.
If convicted, Hernandez, who has been fired from the police force, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
“When you look at the confidence he had in approaching the victim and the way he tried to strike a deal, there may be a pattern,” Smith said.
Anyone who believes they were victimized by Hernandez is urged to call the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Division at 713-274-5911.