SAN MATEO (AP) — A former San Mateo and Los Rios Community College police officer convicted of raping five women while on duty was sentenced on Thursday to 81 years to life in prison.
Noah Winchester, 35, was sentenced in San Mateo, said San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Shin-Mee Chang.
Winchester was convicted in October of raping three women between July 2013 and October 2015 while he served with the San Mateo Police Department and two others when he was an officer for the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento.
Winchester quit the police department in February after he was put on leave in October when the criminal investigation was launched. San Mateo is about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
The charges against Winchester filed in July of 2016 include kidnapping with intent to commit rape, rape, sexual penetration and oral copulation under color of authority, battery, criminal threats, and forcible sex offenses.
Winchester was accused of assaulting two victims, including a 17-year-old girl, in the Sacramento area in 2013 while he was an officer with the Los Rios Community College Police Department and three women in 2015 in San Mateo County while he was a San Mateo police officer.
He quit the Los Rios department early in 2015 after more than five years to join the San Mateo department, but questions about his conduct in San Mateo arose when a distressed woman was found in Burlingame at about 5:15 a.m. on Oct. 20.
The woman told police that she had been assaulted. Burlingame police referred the case to San Mateo, where Winchester was swiftly placed on leave and the district attorney’s office was called in to investigate.
But suspicions about Winchester had already been raised in 2013 while he was still with the Los Rios department. A woman reported an assault in 2013 to Sacramento police, who referred the case to the Los Rios Community College District, Wagstaffe said.
Los Rios district spokesman Mitchel Benson said in a July 2016 statement, after criminal charges were already filed, that the college was launching its own investigation. He declined to say when the district knew about the 2013 report by Sacramento police or why it was only launching an investigation in July, months after the allegations against Winchester had already become public.