LAPD officer charged after allegedly fondling a dead woman's breast
A Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera on Jan. 15, 2014. (Damian Dovarganes / AP)
Los Angeles Police Department officer David Rojas was charged Thursday with one felony count of having sexual contact with human remains without authority, officials said, after he allegedly fondled a dead woman's breast.
The October 20 incident was recorded by Rojas' body camera when he and his partner were responding to a call about a possible dead body, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a news release.
Rojas, 27, was alone in a room with the deceased woman while his partner went to get paper work from a patrol car, CNN affiliate KCBS-TV reported. At that point, Rojas turned off the body camera and inappropriately touched the woman, LAPD officials told the news station.
A two-minute buffer on the camera captured the incident even though Rojas had turned it off, sources told the affiliate.
A source familiar with the investigation called the incident "way beyond the pale" and "unacceptable." He says footage of the incident was found in a random check of bodycam footage.
CNN has been unable to determine if Rojas has an attorney.
"We hope that District Attorney Jackie Lacey charging Mr. Rojas for his vile alleged crime will bring some solace to the deceased woman's family during their time of grieving," the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, said in a statement.
The union also said it will not defend the officer during his proceedings.
"His alleged behaviour is abhorrent and an affront to every law enforcement professional working the LAPD," it said.
Rojas' coworkers had previously told CNN they were furious.
Rojas faces up to three years in state prison, the news release said. Prosecutors have recommended bail of US$20,000.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs Division.