Officer Arrested in Attempted Rape Faced a Rape Charge 5 Years Ago

A Long Beach police sergeant who was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape over the weekend had been charged with rape five years ago, but that case was dismissed after the woman gave conflicting stories.

Sgt. Robert L. Ballew, a 16-year veteran of the department, was arrested in 1986 when a Navy woman he met while off duty accused him of raping her in his unmarked police car. Ballew pleaded not guilty. When the woman later gave inconsistent statements at a preliminary hearing, a judge threw out the charges.

Ballew, 44, was arrested again on attempted rape charges about 1 a.m. Sunday by Los Angeles police officers responding to a call about a screaming woman.

When officers arrived at the 700 block of Miraflores Street in San Pedro, they found a fully dressed Ballew inside a van, where a partially clothed woman was struggling to get dressed, according to Capt. Rodger Coombs, commanding officer for the Harbor Division.

The woman had a golf ball-size bump on her head, a bloody elbow and abrasions on her right knee, Coombs said. The woman was "disoriented and highly agitated," he said.

Ballew told officers that the woman was his girlfriend "and they had an argument," Coombs said.

Ballew is also under investigation on suspicion of kidnaping and assault with a deadly weapon. Helew was suspended Tuesday from his job in the Long Beach patrol division.

The 30-year-old San Pedro woman told police that she had met Ballew Saturday night and asked him for a ride to her mother's house, Coombs said.

The woman told police that when she realized Ballew was not taking her there, she "became angry and tried to get out of the car," Coombs said. "She tried to run away, (but) the suspect struck her in the head with an unknown object," Coombs said.

The woman's memory was hazy and she could not recall what she was struck with or whether she was raped, Coombs said.

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