SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California jail deputy has been charged with sexually assaulting two female inmates while they were in custody, authorities said Wednesday.

Arcadio Rodriguez, an Orange County sheriff's deputy, pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual battery and a charge of engaging in sexual activity with a confined consenting adult, the district attorney's office said in a statement. Rodriguez also pleaded not guilty to possessing a cellphone inside a jail, the statement said.

Authorities accused the 30-year-old of having inappropriate relationships with two inmates at the Theo Lacy Facility in the city of Orange about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, sexually assaulting them and showing them pornographic videos of himself in 2022.

"These women were awaiting trial and had no way of escaping a predator who literally held the keys to their captivity,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement.

Rodriguez is due back in court March 3. A message seeking comment was left for his lawyer, Robert Hickey.

Last week, state prison officials said a former correctional officer at the biggest women's prison in California has been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct against at least 22 inmates. The investigation into the allegations began last year after officials discovered the possible misconduct at the Central California Women’s Facility.