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Trial delayed for former H.B. officer

Proceedings for James Roberts, charged with felonies including rape and sodomy, may begin in June.

April 25, 2012|By Mona Shadia

The trial of a former Huntington Beach police officer accused of sexual assault has been pushed back because of scheduling conflicts.

James Roberts, who faces 19 felony charges that include raping and sodomizing his ex-wife and alleged mistress, was initially scheduled to face trial Monday.

But his defense attorney, John Barnett, has just completed a trial, and Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl, who is prosecuting the case, is in the middle of another case.

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Both asked Judge William Froeberg to schedule a trial-setting conference for May 4.

Christl said he might begin another trial after completing one for Robert Avery McClain, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy accused of torturing his then-wife and her lover in Irvine. That case is expected to conclude in two weeks.

Roberts' trial might not begin until the middle of June, Christl said.

Roberts, who was fired by the Police Department following an internal investigation, is accused, among other charges, of false imprisonment by violence or deceit, criminal threats, domestic battery, aggravated assault, dissuading a witness and vandalism.

His ex-wife, whose name is being withheld because she is a possible rape victim, has filed a civil lawsuit against the city on her and her son's behalf. She alleges Huntington Beach police covered up for Roberts when she called to report his abusive behavior.

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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