Former officer's ex-girlfriend sues city

HB Independent

The ex-girlfriend of a former Huntington Beach police officer claims in a lawsuit that police officials ignored and covered up allegations that he raped, sodomized and abused her, allowing the mistreatment to continue.

Aileen Mignosa, 27, claims in a lawsuit filed May 6 in Orange County Superior Court that the Huntington Beach Police Department did little to stop former officer James Roberts III from physically and emotionally harming her after she made numerous calls to 911 and filed police reports alleging rape, forced sodomy and assault and battery.

Mignosa claims the abuses took place from 2006-08.

The lawsuit names Police Chief Ken Small, asserting that he knew of the "derelictions of duty and police misconduct, but failed to report them."

Small hadn't seen the lawsuit yet, but said the claims are "absolutely untrue."

"I never covered anything up in my entire career," he said.

Small said he couldn't comment on the allegations that the department didn't take disciplinary action, citing the confidential nature of personnel issues.

Roberts' attorney, John Barnett, was in trial Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment, according to a woman who answered the phone at his law offices in Orange.

Roberts also faces 20 felony counts involving Mignosa and his ex-wife. The criminal case was investigated by the Orange County district attorney's office and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Roberts' ex-wife filed a similar lawsuit in November, asserting that city employees actively covered for Roberts, who she claims raped, sodomized and abused her while he was employed with the police department.

The officer was fired April 15 after being on administrative leave for several months. At the time, Small wouldn't discuss why Roberts was asked to leave the department.

Roberts has pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment, making criminal threats, domestic battery, aggravated assault, dissuading a witness and vandalism. The charges of rape, forcible sodomy and rape under duress were added in February.

If convicted, Roberts faces more than 23 years in prison.

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