California

The Latest: LA officers plead not guilty to on-duty rapes

The Latest on two Los Angeles police officers charged with raping four women over a three-year period, mostly on duty (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Two Los Angeles police officers have pleaded not guilty to repeatedly raping four women while on duty over a three-year period.

James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela entered the pleas in a downtown Los Angeles court on Thursday. Their next court hearing is set for March 16.

Attorneys for both officers say they adamantly maintain their innocence and question the credibility of the women who lodged the allegations.

Prosecutors say the rapes began in December 2008 after Nichols and Valenzuela became partners in the department's Hollywood Division. They say all four women who say they were assaulted had been arrested on drug-related charges at various times by the officers.

Police Chief Charlie Beck says the officers have been suspended without pay since 2013. He says they "disgraced themselves, they disgraced this badge, they disgraced their oaths of office."