KEY POINTS

  • The officer fondled the corpse when he was alone with the body
  • Lawsuit alleges offenses including invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • The family is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages

A lawsuit has been filed against a Los Angeles police officer for allegedly fondling a dead woman’s body.

According to the lawsuit, the officer, identified as David Rojas, and his partner arrived at a home on Oct.20, 2019, and found Elizabeth Baggett’s dead body. When Rojas was alone with the body, he fondled the corpse. The alleged incident was caught on his body-worn camera, Los Angeles Times reported. 

In December, the accused officer was charged with "having sexual contact with human remains."

"This incident is extremely disturbing and does not represent the values of the Los Angeles Police Department," LAPD Chief Michel Moore had said in a statement in December. 

Rojas, however, pleaded not guilty. He is set to appear in court in September for his preliminary hearing.

Meanwhile, in the lawsuit filed Tuesday against the city, Rojas, and several unnamed parties by the woman’s family alleges that the officer sexually molested the 34-year-old dead woman. It also alleges other offenses including invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The family is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages. However, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, the outlet reported.

"Shock and disgust do not even come close to describing the horror of hearing this news. 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. Days are not much better," Baggett’s mother, Janet, said in a press conference Tuesday.

Calling the officer’s behavior "mean, vile, base, and contemptible," Gloria Allred, the attorney representing the Baggett family, said, "The unexpected loss of Elizabeth has been devastating for this 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. So many women are sexually abused during their lifetime, and now we learn that some are even sexually victimized after their deaths."

body cam Here, a Los Angeles police officer wear an AXON body camera during the Immigrants Make America Great March to protest actions being taken by the Trump administration in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 18, 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images