LAPD officer pleads not guilty after allegedly seen on camera fondling woman's corpse

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles police officer who is accused of fondling a female corpse pleaded not guilty Monday morning.

David Rojas, an officer with Central Division, was placed on leave in December after body camera footage allegedly caught him in the act. The 27-year-old appeared before a judge for his arraignment on one felony count of sexual contact with human remains.

He is expected back in court next month. Meanwhile, his attorney had "no comment" on the incident.

His attorney Robert Ernenwein told Eyewitness News that Rojas has not been able to work on a defense because he still has not obtained the police reports or the video.

Sources say Rojas turned off the recording on his body camera and then lifted the sheet off the woman's body and allegedly began feeling her nipples and fondling her breasts.

He later turned the body camera recording back on. But the cameras used by the department have a video buffering that saves footage going back for two minutes prior to the recording function being activated.

A detective who was later reviewing bodycam video for the investigation saw the fondling on video and reported him.

The officer was pulled from the field and assigned to home duty after this incident came to light, according to LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein.

The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers has apologized to the family of a deceased woman, whose name has not been released.

LAPD union apologizes to family of deceased woman whose body was allegedly groped by officer
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The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers is apologizing to the family of a deceased woman whose body was allegedly groped by an officer assigned to her case.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which often is in the position of defending actions of officers accused of wrongdoing, said there is no defense for this behavior if proven true.

"We want the family to know this alleged behavior is repugnant, reprehensible and indefensible," said Craig Lally, president of the LAPPL. "We are sorry for the pain this has caused you."

The LAPD began deploying body cameras to some 7,000 officers in 2016, calling them a step forward to help maintain public trust in the agency.

Last year, the Police Commission voted on a policy to release bodycam footage to the public within 45 days of critical incidents involving the use of force.

Rubenstein said this particular incident does not fall under the parameters of a critical incident mandating the release of such footage.

If convicted, Rojas faces a potential maximum term of three years in state prison.
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