Former Box Elder police officer will plead guilty to aggravated sex charges

BOX ELDER, S.D. — A former Box Elder police officer indicted on four separate sex charges will plead guilty to abusing a teenage girl.

Ricardo Edward Franc Olandez was indicted on three counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact by a federal grand jury.

The charges stem from a six week period in Spring 2021 during which Olandez is alleged to have repeatedly sexually assaulted the teenage girl who was living with Olandez and his wife on Ellsworth Air Force Base at the time.

The girl informed Olandez’ wife of the assaults in mid-May; the wife then confronted Olandez, who apologized before fleeing to Montana. He was eventually arrested in Georgia.

A date for a change-of-plea hearing has not been set. Olandez faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

According to a spokesperson with the Box Elder Police Department, they were notified on May 15, 2021 of an “allegation of an off-duty sexual assault committed by then-officer Ricardo Olandez.” Later that day, Olandez was relieved of his duties and placed on administrative leave.

Due to the allegations being against an officer, BEPD policy dictates the case be referred to an outside agency. The US Air Force Office of Special Investigations became the lead agency.

Olandez was formally relieved of duty on May 18. He was hired by the City of Box Elder on April 6, 2020.

“Prior to employment, Olandez was subjected to a thorough hiring process, psychological screening, and comprehensive background investigation conducted by an outside contractor. His prior work experience includes the US Navy Reserves, Department of the Navy Police Officer, and as a correctional officer,” said Chris Misselt, Assistant Chief of Police, Box Elder. “Prior to these allegations Olandez was still a probationary officer, was regarded as a competent and experienced officer, and had no disciplinary history. He was recognized with a lifesaving award following his response to an opioid overdose in November of 2020.”

Categories: Crime, Local News