Santa Maria pays $185,000 settlement in officer rape case

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The city of Santa Maria has settled a lawsuit from a teenage girl who said a police officer threatened and raped her over several weeks before being fatally shot by colleagues attempting to arrest him.

Gilbert Trujillo, Santa Maria’s city attorney, said Friday that the $185,000 settlement was ‘an effort to move forward and put this unfortunate chain of events behind us.’


The girl was a 17-year-old police Explorer when she became involved with the 29-year-old officer, Albert Covarrubias Jr. In her federal lawsuit, she said he threatened to kill her boyfriend if she didn’t have sex with him.

When other Santa Maria officers tried to arrest him at a DUI roadblock he was manning last Jan. 28, he fired his gun and was fatally shot in return fire, according to an investigation by the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office.

The case shocked the agricultural city of 100,000 where, in the wake of several incidents, officers took a vote of no confidence in Chief Danny Macagni. He retired in August.


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--Steve Chawkins

Albert Covarrubias Jr. Credit: KBSY-TV