The family of a woman who died in October is suing a Los Angeles policeman accused of caressing her body and sharing the footage with others.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Officer David Rojas sexually abused Elizabeth Baggett. The lawsuit also alleges infringement of privacy, willful mental suffering, negligence, wrong handling of human remains and other criminal acts.
Gloria Allred, the attorney representing the Baggett family, called Rojas’ alleged conduct “evil, vile, fundamental and despicable.”;
Allred said in a statement: “Elizabeth’s sudden loss has caused great harm to this family, and knowing that she and her remains have been despised and compromised to the point of increasing add loss and cause terrible pain and pain to her loved ones, “Allred said in a statement. “A lot of women are sexually abused throughout their lives, and now we know that some even become sex victims after they die.”
Baggett was 34 years old at the time of his death and had a son, according to the online obituary.
A spokesman said Rojas is still working for the Los Angeles Police Department but not on active duty. His lawyer, Robert Ernenwein, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Baggett’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city, Rojas, and several parties to remain anonymous. They are claiming unspecified damages and a trial.
The complaint does not name the Los Angeles Police Department as the defendant.
The woman’s mother, Janet Baggett, said in a statement Tuesday: “Shock and disgust cannot even describe the horror of hearing this news. “We, her family, have sleepless nights, if we can sleep. Personally I wake up in a sweat because of the nightmares that haunt me about the events of Elizabeth’s death. could be better. “
Rojas allegedly touched Baggett when he was alone with her body on October 20 after he and his partner returned to the home where she died.
According to the medical examiner’s office, her death was attributed to an accidental overdose.
After Rojas and his partner determined the woman was dead, the partner left the room and Rojas turned off his wearable camera, but the camera caught the person who was supposed to be caressing in the moment. before the officer turns on again because the device has two minutes. Buffer intervals are for capturing what happens just before they are triggered, the Associated Press previously reported.
Elizabeth Baggett’s 15-year-old son, Preston Sertich, said he wants to work in law enforcement until he learns about the allegations.
“To David Rojas: After losing my mother and handling what you did to her in time of need, I couldn’t sleep. All I could think was, ‘Why?!’ How can you do something like that? “Sertich said in a statement. “You must know what you are doing is wrong and immoral.”
Rojas was charged in December with a charge of having sex with human remains. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $ 20,000 bail, according to prison records.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Rojas’ trial was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for September, according to online court filings.
“This incident is extremely worrying and does not represent the values of the Los Angeles Police Department,” LAPD Director Michel Moore said at the time.
Andrew Blankstein contributed.