A Glendale police sergeant who battled the city on administrative and legal fronts over claims of discrimination has been charged with soliciting an undercover Las Vegas police detective at the Flamingo casino earlier this month.
Vahak Mardoun Mardikian, demoted in 2012 over claims that he harassed and belittled fellow officers, won back his stripes during a hearing before Glendale’s Civil Service Commission last year. But on Aug. 8, he was booked in the Clark County jail after offering undercover vice Det. Justine Gatus $250 — plus $25 in gas money — for anal sex, Nevada court records show.
Mardikian, along with four other current and former officers, filed a federal lawsuit against Glendale in 2010, claiming discrimination and harassment because they are Armenian. On May 6, court documents filed in that case state Mardikian and the city had reached a settlement, and “a more extensive agreement is being prepared.”
No further settlement information, however, is contained in the current California federal court record.
At about 2 a.m. on Aug. 8, Mardikian got up from playing poker at the Flamingo, where he was on vacation with male friends, and began talking to Gatus, according to a police report of the incident. After asking her if she was a cop — and denying he was one himself — the two began talking about what sexual services Gatus would provide for various prices.
After settling on a price and a service, the two departed, with plans to meet in the parking lot, the report stated. At that point, two other Las Vegas officers arrested Mardikian.
Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro said his department was informed of the incident at the end of the last week, and is currently determining the department’s next steps. However, he said little would likely be done until the Las Vegas case has been resolved.
“Basically, all I can tell you at this point is we have been notified of an incident in Las Vegas and we are looking into the matter at this time to determine what actions we may be taking in the future,” he said.
“It’s a personnel matter, I’m not at liberty to talk about anything else at this point,” he added.
Castro also declined to state Mardikian’s current assignment, only saying he was currently employed by the city.
Mardikian could not be immediately reached for comment.