LOS ANGELES — A police officer was arrested Thursday on a charge that he fondled the breast of a dead woman in October, according to authorities and court documents.
Officer David Rojas, 27, who has been with the Los Angeles Police Department for four years, was arrested by the department’s internal affairs division.
He is charged with one count of having sexual contact with human remains in the Oct. 20 incident, which occurred after Rojas and his partner responded to a call about a woman who had died, prosecutors said in a statement.
Rojas was released Thursday on $20,000 bail, according to jail records. It was not clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. A phone number for Rojas could not immediately be found Thursday night.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Rojas faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
“This incident is extremely disturbing and does not represent the values of the Los Angeles Police Department,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement.
The LAPD said earlier this month that an officer was removed from active duty amid an investigation. The Associated Press reported at the time that that the alleged incident was captured on the officer’s body camera despite an effort to turn it off.
The officer turned off the camera after being left alone with the corpse and then turned it on, but the cameras have two-minute buffering periods that record what happens right before they are activated, the AP reported, citing a person briefed on the investigation.
The district attorney’s office said Rojas touched the dead woman’s breast while he was alone.
The board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police officers’ union, called the alleged acts “vile.”
“We hope that District Attorney Jackie Lacey charging Mr. Rojas for his vile alleged crime will bring some solace to the deceased woman’s family during their time of grieving,” the board said in a statement.
“The Los Angeles Police Protective League will not defend Mr. Rojas during his criminal proceedings,” it continued, “and his alleged behavior is abhorrent and an affront to every law enforcement professional working for the LAPD.”
Internal affairs detectives were examining Rojas’ entire career at the LAPD, including a review of other video he recorded while on duty, NBC Los Angeles reported, citing sources.
The police department said in a statement that it presented its case to the district attorney’s office on Tuesday and the single felony count was filed Thursday.
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