A 27-year-old Los Angeles police officer accused of fondling a dead woman was sued Tuesday by her family, court documents show.
The lawsuit accuses Officer David Rojas of fondling 34-year-old Elizabeth Baggett’s breasts and “feeling her nipples, without limitation,” as well as showing the body camera video of it to others. The lawsuit alleges invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, mishandling of human remains and other offenses.
Baggett’s family filed the lawsuit against the city, Rojas and defendants Does 1-20 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages in a jury trial.
“I just want justice for my daughter because of this horrible disgusting act,” Baggett’s mother, Janet Bagget said. “I live in fear that the video will surface and another devastation will be added to what is already unbearable.”
The family’s attorney, Gloria Allred, read a statement from Baggett’s 15-year-old son during a news conference Tuesday announcing the lawsuit.
“My trust in the police to do the right thing has been violated by this disgraceful act that was my mother,” the statement said.
Rojas, who has been on the force for four years, remains employed by the Los Angeles Police Department. But he has been suspended, LAPD spokesman Officer Mike Chan said. The department did not have a comment on the lawsuit, which does not name the agency as a defendant.
Rojas, 27, allegedly touched Baggett’s breast while he was alone in the room with the corpse on Oct. 20. He and his partner had responded to the downtown Los Angeles home where she died.
Rojas had allegedly disabled his LAPD body camera, but the act was caught on video when he turned it back on because the devices have two-minute buffering periods to capture what happens right before they are activated, according to a person briefed on the incident who previously spoke to The Associated Press. The person wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the case and previously spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
Rojas was charged in January with having sexual contact with human remains without authority. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to three years in state prison if convicted. He is out on bond and scheduled to return to court Sept. 15, online records show.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, has declined to pay for Rojas’ legal bills. The officer’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.