A former Waco police officer arrested three years ago in a McLennan County Sheriff’s Office prostitution sting was arrested again this week after he showed up at a Waco hotel to meet what he thought was a prostitute but was met again by officers.
Willy Lopez, 39, who worked five years as a Waco police officer before his first arrest in 2018, remains free on bond after his arrest Tuesday on a prostitution charge. Instead of a prostitute, he was met at the hotel room door by Joseph Scaramucci, a sheriff’s office human trafficking investigator.
Recognizing the officer, Lopez said, “I learned my lesson the first time. Can you let me go?” Scaramucci said in an interview Thursday.
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The difference between Lopez’s arrest this week and the one three years ago is a new law that went into effect Sept. 1 that elevates the crime of paying for sex from a misdemeanor to a state jail felony.
Court records indicate Lopez did not request a court-appointed attorney when he was arraigned earlier this week but do not reflect if he has hired an attorney on the new charge.
An arrest affidavit filed by Scaramucci says Lopez responded to an ad for commercial sex the detective placed online.
“Lopez indicated he wanted to meet with undercover officers to pay for sex, and was provided a fee to carry out the sex acts,” according to the affidavit. “Lopez later arrived at the predetermined location to carry out the acts, and was in possession of the currency to carry out the acts. Lopez was known to me at the time, as I previously arrested him for the same offense in 2018. At the time of that offense Lopez was employed as a Waco Police Officer, who investigated crimes related to prostitution and human trafficking.”
Lopez surrendered his law enforcement license after his 2018 arrest as a condition of being accepted into the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office pretrial diversion program. He also was charged with invasive visual recording, a state jail felony. An officer seized his phone and found a video of Lopez having sex with a prostitute at his Waco apartment and the woman was unaware the recording was being made, officials said.
Lopez successfully completed the diversion program and both charges were dismissed, according to court records.
As part of the diversion program, Lopez completed 200 hours of community service and an eight-week education course that included topics such as human trafficking.