The first woman to accuse Louiseville police officer Pablo Cano of raping her while on-duty and in uniform came forward in 2017 after she filed a lawsuit on June 30 of that year, which was when he was placed on paid administrative.
The second woman came forward a few days later with her own lawsuit. Then a third lawsuit was filed less than two weeks later by another woman accusing the Kentucky cop of "forced sexual intercourse on multiple occasions, both in uniform and out of uniform."
By the time a fourth woman filed a lawsuit in January 2018 accusing him of rape, Cano had resigned from the Louiseville Police Department.
But even when two additional women filed lawsuits the following month, bringing the total number to six victims, police and prosecutors made no move to arrest Cano who had returned to his home in Miami where he had previously been rejected by several agencies for admitting to consuming psychedelic mushrooms in the past.
If only that was Cano's only indiscretion.
Cano was finally charged this month after agreeing to a secret plea deal where he would serve five years in prison for five rapes but those rapes would be reduced to five counts of misdemeanor sexual misconduct.
And it appears as if the only reason he was charged was because police found child pornography on his phone during their investigation, which was the only felony he was convicted on.
According to WDRB:
After more than two years of little legal action, the court process ended in an instant, purposely kept from the public eye.
"We were just trying to make it as easy as possible for the victims," said Shannon Fauver, one of the attorneys for the victims.
"We didn't let the press know it was happening ahead of time, because we didn't want to make it harder on them."
Cano was arraigned, pleaded guilty to a deal kept under wraps and sentenced in 15 minutes. Five women still have civil lawsuits against Cano and the city of Louisville, so the court process isn't over just yet.
The five rapes were reduced to misdemeanors, specifically five counts of "sexual misconduct", a Kentucky law that makes it a misdemeanor to engage "in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person without the latter's consent."
An actual first-degree rape charge in Kentucky requires evidence of "forcible compulsion," a legal phrase defined as follows:
Forcible compulsion in relation to sexual offences means to compel by use of physical force or by threat. Forcible compulsion places a person in fear of immediate or future death, or physical injury to one's self or another person or in fear that the person or another person will immediately or in future be kidnapped.
But the first victim, Heather Richards, said that is exactly what Cano did when he raped her in an interview with WDRB.
"The violence in the rape came so easy for him, and the look in his eye when he's attacking you, it's just disturbing ... the evil."
"I was in complete shock. It was so traumatizing," Richards said. "It went from a conversation, to a kiss, to a violent attack, to the point where he was able to get my shorts down and push me over a table."
And her ordeal wasn't over when the attack ended, she said.
"He continued to contact me, and I didn't know what to do," Richards said. "I didn't trust I could go to the hospital and report it."
And then, Richards said, it happened again.
"When he walked in, he had his gun," she said. "And as far as I was concerned, he might as well have been holding it to my head. I wasn't going to fight him. I saw how violent he was, and you just wait for it to be over and for him to leave."
Richards said she did not come forward until a year after the rapes because she did not trust police to do a proper investigation. It was only after a coverup of a sex scandal involving the department's youth Explorer program came to light that she decided to file her lawsuit.
But then she said police treated her as the culprit, accusing her of making up the allegations because she was a cop hater.
According to WDRB:
Richards said it was the LMPD Explorer case that made her speak up. The report revealed several errors in handling claims of child sex abuse by officers.
"That's the example of how LMPD handles crimes committed by their own, and it's not an isolated event," she said. "There's plenty of events, mine included, where victims are silenced. I truly feel like LMPD ... their whole goal, when I was in that seven hours of interrogation, was that I would shut up and go away."
Richards claims the questioning by police was "horrific."
"They repeatedly blamed me" she said. They said I just don't like cops."
Cano will be eligible for parole after completing a sex offender treatment program, according to WAVE3.