Former officer's ex-wife testifies

At preliminary hearing, she recalls alleged incidents where James Roberts was violent, sexually assaulted her.

August 19, 2010|By Britney Barnes,
  • James Roberts III
James Roberts III (Courtesy of OC District…)

The preliminary hearing for a former Huntington Beach police officer accused of 20 felony counts, including rape and sodomy, began last week with his ex-wife taking the stand.

The prosecution and defense questioned former Officer James Roberts III's ex-wife Aug. 12 and Friday in front of Superior Court Judge Richard J. Beacom at Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. A preliminary hearing is where prosecutors present evidence to a judge, who rules if the case is strong enough to go to trial.

Roberts, 34, is charged with alleged acts against his wife, an alleged mistress and another man while serving as an officer with the Police Department. He pleaded not guilty Feb. 26 to rape, forcible sodomy, false imprisonment by violence or deceit, criminal threats, domestic battery, aggravated assault, dissuading a witness and vandalism.

He faces a maximum sentence of 23 years and four months in prison, if convicted on all charges.


Roberts sat at the defendant's table in a gun-metal gray suit and closely cropped hair, watching while his ex-wife testified about a pattern of domestic violence she alleged he committed against her from June 2007 to March 2008.

The Independent is not identifying Roberts' ex-wife because she is a possible victim of sexual assault.

The ex-wife choked back tears as she recalled the alleged incidents of Halloween 2007. The two had separated in 2006 and she had filed for divorce earlier in the month, but Roberts came to the Huntington Beach house in which the couple used to live.

After a confrontation over her texting other people, she testified that she locked herself in the guest room, holding the door handle and using her body to brace the door.

Roberts allegedly broke open the door, hitting her in the side of the face and knocking her down, she said.

She tried again to flee to the room of their son, who wasn't home, but couldn't get the door closed fast enough.

He allegedly grabbed her by her hair, holding her with her back against the wall, she said.

He ripped her clothes off her body before allegedly raping her on the floor of their son's room, she said.

"He told me he was going to get me pregnant," she said. "That we were going to be a family again."

Dept. Dist. Atty. Cyril Yu questioned her about a handful of incidents where Roberts was allegedly violent with her, several in front of their son, during the nearly two-hour testimony.

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