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City responds to lawsuit about former officer

Officer's ex-wife is suing the city and claims officials covered for James Roberts, who is charged with multiple felonies.

February 16, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Huntington Beach is fighting back against accusations that officials covered for a former officer accused of rape, assault and sodomy.

In a recent response to a lawsuit filed against the city by the ex-wife of former Officer James Roberts, who is charged with 20 felonies, the city attorney's office said the accusations are not based on facts.

The ex-wife, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, said that while Roberts was still employed by the Police Department, his colleagues and superiors protected him every time she called to report violence against her and her young son, according to the lawsuit. The incidents happened between June 2007 and December 2008, according to the lawsuit.

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She is suing for emotional distress, deprivation of civil rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress for her and her son, according to court records.

Police officials are not mandated to write a report about domestic violence unless the incident is fully investigated and a finding has been determined, the response said. Police are also not obligated to call for protective custody for a minor unless there's evidence that the minor is in danger, according to the response.

Roberts' charges range from rape, sodomy and false imprisonment to aggravated assault and dissuading a witness. A pretrial is scheduled Feb. 25 and a jury trial is scheduled in April, according to court records.

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