The family of a dead woman whose breasts were allegedly fondled by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer who discovered her body is suing the officer and the city, the family’s attorney Gloria AllredGloria Rachel AllredBannon and Maxwell cases display DOJ press strategy chutzpah Family of dead woman sues Los Angeles police officer for allegedly fondling her body Walmart to end practice of locking up 'multicultural' personal care products MORE announced on Tuesday.

The lawsuit from the family of Elizabeth Baggett accuses LAPD Officer David Rojas of negligence, invasion of privacy, mishandling of human remains and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

“So many women are sexually abused during their lifetime and now we learn that some are even sexually victimized after their death,” Allred said during a press conference. “To add insult to injury, the knowledge that a police officer, during the course of his investigation of the death of a young woman, would take advantage of his position of power and trust to allegedly sexually abuse the body of a deceased person is very upsetting."


“It is not only against the law, but it is also against all sense of human decency,” she added. 

Janet Baggett, Elizabeth Baggett’s mother, was visibly emotional and described feeling "infuriated" by Rojas's alleged actions. 

“We, her family, have sleepless nights, if we are able to sleep. I personally wake in sweats from the nightmares that haunt me about the events of Elizabeth’s death," she said. "Days are not much better.”

The victim’s 15-year-old son, Preston Sertich, wrote in a statement that he previously hoped to become a police officer, but has since lost all trust for the force. 

“What has this officer gotten away with to believe this was even possible?” the boy asked in his statement, read by Allred during the press conference. “Is there a pattern of behavior against women, arrestees or decedents? How could you employ this man and let him represent your City?”

The lawsuit stems from an Oct. 20 incident, according to a report from The Los Angeles Times. Rojas and his partner were responding to a call reporting the death of a woman when they discovered the body of 34-year-old Baggett.

While he was alone in the room with the corpse as his partner returned to their squad car, Rojas allegedly touched the woman’s breasts.

Rojas had reportedly attempted to deactivate his body camera, but was still caught on video due to a delay between the deactivation and when the device actually turns off.

The officer was placed on leave after a detective discovered the body-camera footage, The Los Angeles Times first reported. 

In December, Rojas was arrested and charged with violating a corpse. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $20,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison.

The outlet noted that the criminal trial has been postponed several times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.