Family sues LAPD officer accused of fondling dead woman’s body, sharing video footage

Family sues LAPD officer accused of fondling dead body, sharing video footage

LOS ANGELES — The family of a woman who died in October filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of fondling her breasts after finding her body and then sharing body-camera footage of the incident.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Officer David Rojas sexually molested Elizabeth Baggett, whose body was found Oct. 20 by Rojas and his partner, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Rojas has already been charged criminally in the case and remains employed by the LAPD but is not on active duty, a spokesman told NBC News.

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According to the Times, the family leveled several allegations in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial. The allegations include negligence, invasion of privacy, mishandling of human remains and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“I am infuriated that this man had so little respect for another human being, our Elizabeth, for not having the thought that she is someone’s daughter, granddaughter and mother,” Janet Baggett, Elizabeth Baggett’s mother, said at a news conference.

According to the Times, Rojas and his partner responded to an Oct. 20 report of a dead body and found Elizabeth Baggett deceased. Rojas’ partner left the scene to retrieve something from the patrol car, and Rojas disabled his body camera and allegedly fondled her breasts.

LAPD officers’ cameras retain a two-minute buffer period of footage after being deactivated, however, and a detective investigating Elizabeth Baggett’s death discovered Rojas’ body-camera footage showing the molestation during his investigation, the Times reported.

Rojas was placed on leave and charged with a felony violation of the state safety codes covering sexual actions with human remains. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in January and was released on $20,000 bail pending trial, the newspaper reported.

In addition to Rojas, the city of Los Angeles and several unnamed parties are listed as defendants in the suit but not the LAPD, NBC News reported.

Baggett was 34 when she died and is survived by one son. The medical examiner’s office ruled her death an accidental overdose, the network reported.