NEW YORK (AP) A Phoenix escort who allegedly forced women to perform sexual acts on him at his New York City hotel room said she was stunned when she found out the man had been arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault.
The escort, whose name has not been released because of the ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press on Friday that she was shocked when she learned the man, who was booked into a New York city jail, had been charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct, including two counts that carry a maximum prison term of five years.
Phoenix police said in a news release that the man told the escort that she would have to perform oral sex on him and perform oral sexual acts while in his hotel room and that she agreed.
She said the escort then told her to kiss him.
The suspect was booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan on Friday on the second count of criminal conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Police did not immediately return an email from AP requesting comment on the allegations.
The case is the latest in a string of police actions that have drawn condemnation from civil rights groups and the public, which has raised questions about whether Phoenix police use force in pursuit of illegal immigrants.
Police officials have faced criticism in recent weeks for their handling of a fatal police shooting of a Mexican immigrant last year.
The shooting, in the southern city of Reynosa, raised questions as to whether Phoenix officers had a duty to intervene.
Police in the Phoenix area, where about 10,000 people are estimated to be in the country illegally, have been under scrutiny since the killing of 25-year-old Angel Alejandra Cruz, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the back.
The case has been the subject of protests, lawsuits and calls for reform.
A local chapter of the National Action Network for Black Women, a national civil rights organization, said Phoenix police should be held accountable for their actions in the case.
“This was a horrific event,” said Michelle Brown, NANW’s director of immigration, domestic violence and racial justice programs.
“If Phoenix police were doing their jobs, they would not be charged with sexual assault.”
The Phoenix Police Department said the officer had been suspended and a complaint was filed with the Phoenix City Council.
Phoenix Police Department Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said in an emailed statement that the officer was terminated in order to ensure the department is fully independent of outside influence.
The police department said in the statement that it was in the process of conducting a criminal investigation and was working with the City Attorney’s Office to determine what further steps would be taken.
The Associated Press has contacted the city of Phoenix for comment.