SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A CHP officer is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he pulled over for a traffic stop. The woman also alleges the officer came to her home hours after the first incident and groped her again.
The alleged sexual assaults occurred earlier this month in Orange County.
The woman making the allegations spoke Wednesday at a Santa Ana news conference with her attorney present.
Ruth Chavez says she is scared and panics every time she sees a California Highway Patrol SUV after what she says happened to her back on April 6 when she and her husband were pulled over by an officer on the 5 Freeway for an expired tag.
“They were stopped on the side of the road, and the police officer requested that Ms. Chavez exit her car and proceed to the back of the car where she was inappropriately, sexually groped ,” says JJ Dominguez, the woman’s attorney.
He says a few hours later that same officer showed up at Chavez’s apartment and met her outside.
“He positions his patrol car inside of a parking lot and opens the two doors, of his SUV patrol car, and positions her between the two doors and again proceeds to grope [her],” says Dominguez.
Dominguez says a neighbor startled the officer who then left but said he’d be back in a week. He also says the officer was captured on a camera at the apartment complex.
She was a passenger in the vehicle. Her husband was cited for driving without a license, Johnson reported.
Chavez says she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. She reported the alleged incidents to Santa Ana Police the very next day.
The CHP issued the following statement Wednesday from Captain Shackleford:
“The CHP is aware of an investigation involving one of its officers by the Santa Ana Police Department for alleged behavior that occurred while the employee was on duty. I want to assure the public that we take any allegation of misconduct by our employees, whether on or off duty, very seriously. The CHP is fully cooperating with the investigating agency. In addition, the CHP is conducting its own investigation into the allegations. While the investigation is being conducted, the employee has been placed on administrative leave and his peace officer powers have been revoked.”
The statement added, “The CHP is a proud and professional organization. I want to emphasize to the public that the alleged conduct of this employee does not reflect the values, hard work, dedication and professionalism of the CHP and its more than 11,000 employees, who proudly work each day to provide the best in Safety, Service, and Security to the people of California.”