Ex-Officer Sentenced in Assault Case : Torrance: Roland Sabara is ordered to serve a year's probation for trying to drag a woman from her car. His lawyer says the behavior was alcohol-induced.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former Torrance police officer was sentenced Tuesday to a year's probation for trying to drag a Lancaster woman from her car last January.

Roland Sabara, 36, pleaded guilty in April to one misdemeanor count of battery and one felony count of false imprisonment in connection with the Jan. 31 assault.

The felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor after psychologists, examining Sabara in state prison, concluded that the attack "was totally out of character for him and that it had to be alcohol-induced," defense attorney Michael Eberhardt said.

Sabara, held in state prison for psychological testing since April as part of his plea agreement, was released Tuesday. "Basically, he was sentenced to the time he had already served, which was 153 days," Eberhardt said.

Sabara, who has been undergoing treatment for alcoholism, was ordered not to consume alcohol as a condition of his probation, Eberhardt said.

A six-year veteran of the Torrance Police Department and a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, Sabara resigned his Torrance position after the department placed him on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case.

The Antelope Valley resident was arrested on suspicion of attempted kidnaping on Jan. 31 after witnesses told sheriff's deputies the off-duty officer had harassed several women that afternoon and then suddenly grabbed one woman as she stepped into her car.

The woman, who said she had never seen Sabara before, struggled free, managed to shut her car door and drove to a nearby auto repair shop, where a friend called deputies.

Investigators tracked Sabara down using a license number provided by witnesses.

It was not his first scrape with the law.

In August, 1990, Sabara drove his truck through a fence and into the side of a Redondo Beach house early one morning. As neighbors ran to their windows to see what had happened, Sabara backed up and drove away. He turned himself in the next day, just minutes after the house's resident had discovered the license plate from Sabara's truck in the collision debris.

He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor hit-and-run driving charge, for which he was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $612 fine.

Now that his law enforcement career is over, Sabara plans to study business while he seeks a new livelihood, Eberhardt said. The former officer has no memory of what happened on the day of the assault, he said.

"He's getting his life together as well as he can," Eberhardt said.

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