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Months after a Los Angeles cop was arrested for allegedly groping a woman’s corpse, her family has teamed up with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred to sue the officer and the city of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Police Department officer David Rojas fondled the breasts and nipples of the deceased woman, Elizabeth Baggett, after he came across her body as part of an investigation last October, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Baggett’s mother and son.
That alleged assault was captured on body-camera footage and was discovered by the police during a routine review, according to local news outlet KCAL9.
“The unexpected loss of Elizabeth has been devastating for her family, and learning that she and her remains have been so disrespected and violated has compounded the loss and inflicted horrific pain and suffering on her loved ones,” Allred said in a Los Angeles press conference Tuesday. “Learning too that the video of her alleged sexual molestation has been viewed by others sickens them and is deeply disturbing.
Rojas was arrested, charged with having sexual contact with human remains, and taken off of active duty and put on paid leave in December. He could spend up to three years in prison if found guilty, but Allred said that the case has yet to really move forward.
The Los Angeles Police Department declined to comment on the litigation to VICE News. Officer Mike Chan said that Rojas is still not on duty, pending an internal review process.
“I am infuriated that this man had so little respect for another human being, our Elizabeth, for not having the thought that she is someone’s daughter, or granddaughter, and mother,” said Janet Baggett, Elizabeth’s mother. As she spoke during the press conference, she fought back tears. “We, her family, have sleepless nights. If we are able to sleep, I personally wake in sweats from the nightmares that haunt me about the events of Elizabeth’s death.”
The lawsuit accuses Rojas and the city of Los Angeles of several offenses, including invasion of privacy, negligence, and mishandling of human remains. Baggett’s family is seeking unspecified damages.
“I can never get used to even a living woman or child being sexually abused,” Allred said, “but to abuse the body of a deceased person is just completely unforgivable.”
Cover: Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 3/11/20 Gloria Allred at the sentencing of Harvey Weinstein in New York City. Weinstein received 23 years in prison. (NYC)