Santa Maria teen claims officer raped her

August 14, 2012

Albert Covarrubias

A former Police Explorer in Santa Maria filed a federal lawsuit on Aug. 7 against the city, members of its police department and the estate of Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr., alleging that Covarrubias used his position of authority to rape and sexually harass her. [Noozhawk]

The 17-year-old contends the police explorer program is known to be “plagued with inappropriate sexual misconduct.” The suit accuses the  police department and city of a lack of training and supervision and negligence in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by attorneys with Goldberg and Gage, a Woodland Hills firm.

Gloria Covarrubias, who was married to the officer for only three weeks, is sued as the representative of her late husband’s estate.

In January, two days before Cavarrubias appears to have committed suicide by cop, police learned of the alleged inappropriate relationship and asked the girl to leave a DUI checkpoint she was at with Covarrubias. The 17-year-old then agreed to participate in a ruse where she would tell Covarrubias she might be pregnant with his child.

Covarrubias responded by texting the girl saying, “I’m nervous too, baby, have you said anything?” and “I don’t know, if I get caught I’m done.”

He asked her to deny they had sex and said he would kill himself if their relationship was made public.

Officers then went to arrest Covarrubias while he was on duty at a DUI checkpoint. He resisted, pulled his weapon and was fatally shot by Matt Kline, a fellow officer and friend.

The teen, named as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, is suing over claims her affair with Albert Covarrubias Jr was ignored, Noozhawk said.  Jane Doe describes him in the suit as a predator who told her ‘he would kill her boyfriend and family’ if she didn’t sleep with him.

The teen seeks unspecified damages from the police force, as well as from the officer’s widow and estate.


56 Comments

  1. danika says:

    IMO, this sting was handled wrong from the beginning. Once they learned of the existence of sexual activity between their officer and a minor, the Chief should have IMMEDIATELY brought him in for questioning and taken care of investigation right there and then, certainly not put the anxious man on the streets of SM with a loaded weapon, for goodness sakes. Covarubious fired off a shot that went somewhere. And that shot could have brought death to an innocent passer by. I feel Mastagni’s willful actions displayed depraved indifferent and wreckless endangerment toward the citizens of his city.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

    • Jack L says:

      The city will be litigated against by the officer’s family, the minor female, and who knows who else? The city will be getting it form all sides. MAJOR CLUSTER!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • MaryMalone says:

        And to think….the City of Santa Maria and the SMPD choreographed it themselves.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    • Downtown Bob says:

      Danika, they investigated the relationship the best that they could in the best way that they could at the time of the incident.

      It certainly was not perfect, but nothing ever is. With this deprived individual, in hindsight, there was no “safe” way to handle him. Don’t you think the same thing could have happened in the police station? At the end of a DUI checkpoint, late at night, in an isolated area, and using the bad cop’s “friend” was the best that anyone could have hoped for. I am quite sure no one expected what transpired. Not many will pull a gun on a friend. If they would have called him to the Chief’s office who knows what could have happened!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • The Gimlet Eye says:

        You are “quite sure”?

        How do you know these things?

        So it’s better to endanger the public right out on the street than handle this thing “in house”???

        So, the Chief was afraid of a stray bullet, so he puts the danger out where some innocent, faceless person can take that bullet?

        You know, Downtown Bob, you just might be right.

        But the Chief wasn’t. If your scenario is correct, then the Chief is the biggest coward ever to serve in that PD.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        • Downtown Bob says:

          Most Chiefs and Brass are gutless wonders. They have skill in paperwork and gaining favor. They are not usually the most skilled at dealing with people or criminals. Think teachers pet.

          In LE dealings, no one is ever SURE. Probably is the best you can do.

          Yeah, there are bystanders, weapons, walls, and communication centers in the police station…not a good place to confront an armed subject really.

          Not sure if the Chief was afraid of a stray bullet, but I doubt he had a relationship with the officer. Maybe he had met him a few times, officers don’t hang with the Chef in a large department. The Officers Friend was the best chance to end it peacefully.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. MaryMalone says:

    Here’s an article about an inappropriate sexual contact between a mayor and an intern; the power differential between the two was noted, as was the attempted blame-shifting from the mayor to the (minor) intern.
    http://tinyurl.com/8gwo57d

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  3. MaryMalone says:

    QUOTING FROM ARTICLE: “In January, two days before Cavarrubias appears to have committed suicide by cop, police learned of the alleged inappropriate relationship and asked the girl to leave a DUI checkpoint she was at with Covarrubias. The 17-year-old then agreed to participate in a ruse where she would tell Covarrubias she might be pregnant with his child.

    This has to be one of the stupidest ideas possible for handling this situation. He’d already told the minor female victim “If I get caught, I’m done,” showing that he knew he was in a perilous situation, facing termination from the SMPD and prison time.

    To have the MINOR victim to engage in such a stupid ruse, which would only escalate the situation into more dangerous grounds, is short-sighted and very dangerous.

    The fact that there was a tragic outcome should not come as a surprise to anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 9

    • photocal says:

      So ……. Whats new in Santa Maria now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • Mikayla says:

        Well……

        We have a new chief! I’ve already seen an improvement in the department’s communications with the citizens. I’m hoping that is a sign of things to come.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • Downtown Bob says:

      So how would you have confirmed a sexual relationship between the POS and the victim? What is your best idea? You’re critical, so let’s hear it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      • MaryMalone says:

        I’m not an LEO, and I’m certainly not a police chief. It is not my job to ensure SMPD officers are not disgracing the SMPD and their fellow officers, and setting the SMPD up for years of litigation, by having sex with minor Explorers.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

        • Downtown Bob says:

          Wait a minute Mary, you said it was a foolish and reckless way to probe the illicit activity, and my specific question would be how would you have done it better?

          Keep in mind that you don’t want a potentially dangerous guy taking revenge on someone…you have to make them think that there some benefit to them in keeping the subject around. The ruse cannot be such as some explanation could be used in court……for instance “our relationship” or whatever could exclude sexual activity. It also gave him a slight bond with the victim maybe making her and her family a slight bit safer.

          My point is that everyone wants to repeat over and over how bad of an idea the text of being pregnant was such a bad idea, but in my opinion it fit the bill quite well without providing him a future escape in court. Remember, if the case did not stick or was not proven, he would have the right to continue to be a police officer.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. The Gimlet Eye says:

    The officer looks as if he hadn’t even reached the age of 21 yet. In fact, he looks to be about 16 years old.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    • Cindy says:

      He acted about the same age that he looks. I would still like to know how he passed the psyche exam.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

      • Downtown Bob says:

        Here is how….he represents Hispanics and was bilingual. The local departments will overlook almost anything to get one of them on the department. Much lower standard for them than others.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

    • MaryMalone says:

      I’ve read before that the photo is an old one.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      Gosh, I was too generous! He looks as if he were about 12 years old! What were his height and weight?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Citizen says:

    This girl is the great opportunist, trying to get a big financial settlement.

    Has she no shame? She could have reported any sexual advances to the police at any time. After all, she was at the police station and in the company of other police during this training program. It just goes to show that some people have no moral values. If it hadn’t been for her, this police officer would not be dead.

    She knew the officer was married, and I’ll bet she did her part in flirting and encouraging him. Now that he can’t speak for himself, she is free to make up her own story.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 35 Thumb down 18

    • Cindy says:

      I bet you wouldn’t have those red thumbs if you would have stopped here: ” It just goes to show that some people have no moral values.” You were right on target for the first few lines in my opinion.

      “If it hadn’t been for her, this police officer would not be dead.” What? NOT TRUE………in fact, that statement is utterly ridiculous.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 17

      • MaryMalone says:

        The fault lies with the LEO involved, Covarrubias, since the victim was not yet of the age of consent.

        Covarrubias knew this, yet had sex with her, anyway.

        Part of the blame also lies with the author of the person who came up with, and put into motion, the stupid idea of the victim telling Covarrubias that she might be pregnant. That idea did nothing but escalate the situation, which was already potentially dangerous.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

    • RU4Real says:

      I agree with Citizen. Officer Covarrubias is no longer here to tell HIS SIDE OF THE STORY. This “girl” is an opportunist & I hope her background is completely investigated & made public…Even though she was 17, she was much more mature than her age & she bears some of the “responsibility” of this tragic event…She & her family are very greedy & I hope her “law suit” goes south…

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 11

      • Cindy says:

        If you read my post, you will see that I agree that she is an opportunist. Likewise, I agree that she could have asked any other Officer for help if what she say’s is true but that has nothing to do with the fact that Cova is dead. He is dead because of his own actions and his actions alone have hurt a great many people including his family, his wife, his friends and other Officers. She (Jane Doe) didn’t cause all that pain or cause his death, he did.

        As for the rape, unfortunately, she will get some money regardless of her BS. She was 17 and the sex was technically illegal. Do I think she deserves anything, HELL NO, but she will get something because that’s how the law works. Yeah it stinks.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 8

        • MaryMalone says:

          Cindy, why do you believe the VICTIM is an “opportunist”?

          I find that entire concept to be heinous.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

          • Cindy says:

            WHY?

            “Jane Doe describes him in the suit as a predator who told her ‘he would kill her boyfriend and family’ if she didn’t sleep with him.”

            I guess you believe her claims, I don’t. She needs to take responsibility for her own actions. I don’t see her as a victim, I see her as lucky that she wasn’t a “few weeks” older, because but for those few weeks, she wouldn’t have a case at all.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 9

            • RU4Real says:

              Cindy, that’s ONLY HER “story” & she’s obviously sticking with it….

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

              • MaryMalone says:

                Unfortunately, Covarrubias was such a coward that, instead of facing the consequences of his behavior, he forced his friend to shoot him.

                Covarrubias isn’t here to tell his story because he was a coward.

                No one should be surprised, based on his past history of “morality” issues. His actions already resulted in his first wife committing suicided—you’re aiming to have the Jane-Doe victim commit suicide, too?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

            • MaryMalone says:

              WHAT?

              Covarrubias has a history of “morality” issues. HIs last wife committed suicide over an affair he was having.

              He is an adult and a LEO. He knows better. It is clear he was the one pursuing the UNDERAGE Explorer Scout.

              He set it up so his best friend had to kill him to avoid others being shot by Covarrubias, who had pulled a gun.

              She was an underage Explorer. He was an adult police officer. The power differential was almost completely tipped in Covarrubias’ favor.

              She could not legally give consent. Because she could not give consent, there is no other option besides the finding that Covarrubias raped her.

              This is a very bad situation, but, for heaven’s sake, don’t blame it on the victim.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

            • MaryMalone says:

              I believe what the public knows to date.

              Covarrubias was an adult SMPD LEO who had sex with a minor SMPD Explorer.

              Legally, the minor female Explorer cannot give consent to have sex. Therefore, Covarrubias raped her.

              There is very little honorable about Covarrubias when it comes to morality issues. His first wife committed suicide (while on the phone, talking to dispatch) over another of Covarrubias’ affairs.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

        • Downtown Bob says:

          Cindy, you must have been a friend of the tool “Cova”. He was a coward, criminal, predator, and a POS LEO. I have no respect for him or his family. I feel sorry for the wife of three weeks he deceived enough to marry while he was out with an underage girl. Sick dude and glad he is down the tubes. I hope the girl and her family are paid for their manipulation.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

      • MaryMalone says:

        She was below the age of consent. Legally, she could not consent to having sex with Covarrubias. Therefore, legally, Covarrubias raped her.

        He knew the rules and broke them anyway.

        I find any attempt to shift the blame to the victim to be heinous.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 15

      • MaryMalone says:

        Covarrubias is no longer here to tell “HIS SIDE OF THE STORY” because he committed suicide.

        So don’t even try to paint him as the victim. He was man enough to rape an Explorer Scout, but not man enough to to allow himself to be held accountable for his actions.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

      • Downtown Bob says:

        Officer Covrrubias is no longer here because of his own actions, providing evidence of wrongdoing on his part. That is ridiculous that the victim “was much more mature than her age” is a bunch of BS. 17 year old girls are not mature and do not have the inherent ability to make good decisions. Look at Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinski….very powerful vs. intern. Kind of the same setup.

        I have personally investigated a very similar situation in another state. An officer took a young woman under his wing, sexually assaulted her and threatened her and her family. I believe that he was prepping her for prostitution but I was not able to prove that part.

        Sad possibility that those we entrust to do the right thing and protect the helpless will actually have a a goal to prey on the weaker using the power and respect of the office. This is not the first, nor the last time this type of situation will happen.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • MaryMalone says:

      WRONG. She was below the age of consent, Covarrubias knew it, yet he had sex with her, anyway.

      It is WRONG to blame the victim. Since could not give consent because of her age. Therefore, by default, Covarrubias committed rape.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

      • RU4Real says:

        How do YOU know, Mary? Were YOU there???

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

        • MaryMalone says:

          Were you?

          She was a minor. Minors are not, according to the law, competent to give consent to having sex. Since she could not legally give consent, legally Covarrubias raped her.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  6. isoslo says:

    So the girl wants millions for her plight, the ex-wife gets millions as the widow of an officer shot in the line of duty and several attorneys will get lots. Maybe the city would save money by screening it’s hires a little better.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

    • winedude says:

      Yes, perhaps they will do somewhat better when it comes time to hire a new Chief of Police. The chief when this took place was incompetent, at best.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

      • Mikayla says:

        If you read the DA’s report, Macagni had nothing to do with this fiasco…………I’ll believe that when pigs sprout wings.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

        • MaryMalone says:

          The DA’s job is to protect Santa Maria and its management/employees.

          Macagni should have been drop-kicked years ago, yet the City of SM allowed him to remain as the leader of its police department.

          There’s an old saying, “The fish rots from the head first.” This is absolutely accurate because Macagni had the power to deal with this earlier, and in a less dangerous way.

          Sorry, but when the ship sinks or runs around, it is the captain’s fault, regardless of who fell asleep on watch.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

        • photocal says:

          Mikayla….. One just flew over Paso right now !

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          • Mikayla says:

            Well for heaven’s sakes, don’t stand under it! lol

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • RU4Real says:

      Also maybe have a better screening process for who they allow into the “Explorer Scout” program. My daughter was an “Explorer” years back & is now in Law Enforcement herself. Some girls enter into the program for the wrong reasons…they are attracted to young men in uniforms…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

      • MaryMalone says:

        And how do you know your daughter never had sex with a police officer?

        Explorers having sex with police officers is not unusual. Your daughter may very well have also been a victim, but simply chose not to out it–for whatever reason.

        They need to screen their officers better. SMPD was under the leadership of Macagni, who most believed was a terrible leader.

        I don’t understand why posters are trying to shift blame to the perpetrators: the police officers who are adults, working under the authority of a badge, and on whose recommendations (letters of reference) can have a big impact on an Explorer’s future career.

        The police officers held ALL of the power in this relationship, and at least one of the SMPD’s officers horribly abused that power. Yet posters are trying to blame the Explorers when the LEOs rape them?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

        • RU4Real says:

          Mary, THAT comment shows JUST HOW out of touch with reality YOU are…Not ALL Explorer Scouts are SLUTS…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

          • MaryMalone says:

            Do you really believe the “Jane Doe” Explorer is a “slut”?

            How do you know your daughter did not have sex with a SM LEO? She’s certainly not going to tell you, with your Neanderthal mindset towards adult LEOs manipulating minor-age female Explorer Scouts into sexual relations.

            You think Jane Doe (an Explorer Scout) was a slut. Do you think your own daughter is a slut, too?

            You should be careful about making judgments about other people’s children, especially when your own child has so much in common with them, because the rule of judgment you apply to others can very, very easily be applied to your own child.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

        • The Gimlet Eye says:

          LEGALLY speaking, you are right. But that explanation is not sufficient to understand this incident.

          When you say, “The police officers held ALL of the power in this relationship,” you are quite mistaken. As to “power,” the female obviously had far more than the male did.

          Psychologically speaking, it was no “choice” for the officer. He was CAPTURED by the female, you may be sure. In other words, it was “love at first sight.” This is the typical way that this happens, and it is, not infrequently, a hell of a mistake (as in this case).

          If you do not understand this process of “capture,” and the extraordinary power of “love at first sight,” then I’ll have to refer you out to Dr. Jung and he will explain it to you:

          CG Jung – Feminine Archetype

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

          • MaryMalone says:

            Oh, for heaven’s sake. Jung? He was born in 1865. Why don’t you reference President George Washington while you’re at it?

            LEGALLY is the only interpretation that makes sense for this context since WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A LAWSUIT.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

            • The Gimlet Eye says:

              Mary, you are missing the point, and what the use of being so snotty about it like some of those unhinged ones who swoop in here from time to time with their idiotic garbage?

              If you don’t like my comments, then maybe you should render some common courtesy and simply ignore them. Or, if you wish, I will cease commenting on your comments. That will be easy to do.

              Who’s we? Maybe YOU are talking about a mere lawsuit; others are also concerned with the motives of those involved, as well as how a police department could have allowed this psychological explosion to happen right on its watch.

              Everybody in this forum knows what the law is on statutory rape. This case has highly unusual and suspicious features, and they are what is attracting most of the commentators to this forum.

              People are searching for explanations as to HOW this could have happened, and WHY. That’s not so easy to explain, and a simple reference to what’s on the law books DOES NOT cut it or satisfy.

              There are many unanswered questions here. Nobody here is trying to blame EVERYTHING on the girl. But to assume that she is totally blameless in the matter is preposterous on its face. That may not count in a law court, but then, this forum IS NOT A COURT.

              We don’t know exactly what really happened between them. From a moral standpoint, the girl might even carry a greater burden of guilt than the man did. But we just don’t know for sure, and probably never will.

              As a matter of public concern, there are lingering and disturbing questions about the actions of the girl, the police department, the police chief, department policy regarding “police explorers,” the mental health of the officer, the standards in the department covering the mental health of officers and whether they have to pass batteries of psychological testing before hiring, etc.

              The girl was not involved with just anybody. This was a police officer, and now he’s dead. That’s a pretty drastic ending for something that at least had the semblance of love about it before it happened. This strange metamorphosis into a violent confrontation and death is everyone’s business!

              In my opinion, this officer was not a paragon of mental health. He may have been a sexual predator of sorts. If he was, what was he doing working for the SMPD???

              He should have been under observation by a mental health professional well before this incident took place. It’s also possible that he never should have been hired in the first place.

              As for Dr. Carl Jung, you obviously know NOTHING about him or his work. He was not born in 1865, he was born in 1875 and died in 1961, as if it mattered, which it most certainly does not.

              I don’t know how old you are, but his life span intersects with my own, slightly. His work is just as relevant to the truth of human life now as it ever was. Your innuendo that his work is as irrelevant as George Washington is the height of stupidity and ignorance.

              The point may be lost on you, but others just might gain some insight here, that the key to the LEO’s behavior lies in what Dr. Jung said in the video. The Chief at SMPD would be well advised to watch it.

              I’ll tell you what. I will not comment on your comments anymore. And please don’t comment on mine.

              There, happy?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

              • MaryMalone says:

                How about you take care of your own posting issues, and quit telling other posters what to do.

                Also, don’t take this so personally. Sometimes we agree–sometimes we don’t.

                It’s just how it goes.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • MaryMalone says:

      The City i s definitely culpable because they left Macagni in power long after it was clear that the SMPD was being run into the ground by him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

    • MarkJames says:

      “the ex-wife gets millions as the widow of an officer shot in the line of duty”

      WRONG, he is not an Officer shot in the line of duty. At the time he was shot, he was relieved of duty and being placed under arrest. He had no Officers funeral or recognition for having been anything more than a disgraced LEO. He might have life insurance but his special Officers insurance won’t kick in, the guy pulled a “SUICIDE BY COP”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

Comments are closed.