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D.A.: Cop abused his wife

A former Huntington Beach police officer is expected to begin a preliminary hearing Monday on charges of rape, forcible sodomy and 17 other felony counts.

James Roberts III, 34, faces charges involving alleged acts against his wife, an alleged mistress and another man while serving as an officer with the Police Department.

Roberts was charged in February after an investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Department and district attorney. He pleaded not guilty Feb. 26 to rape, forcible sodomy, false imprisonment by violence or deceit, criminal threats, domestic battery, aggravated assault, dissuading a witness and vandalism.

The charges hold a maximum sentence of 23 years and four months in prison.

Roberts' attorney, John Barnett, denied to give his client's response to the charges against him, but did comment on why he thought the two women would make the accusations.

"I will not discuss my client's feelings, but the evidence suggests the two complaining witnesses are motivated by money and rejection," Barnett said in an e-mail.

Roberts is accused of physically abusing his wife from June 2007 to May 2008 in the family home they shared in Huntington Beach, according to court documents.

He allegedly raped his wife in their son's bedroom while the son was away, according to the wife's testimony during an interview by the Sheriff's Department, which is part of the court record.

The attack allegedly left the wife with a black eye, and Roberts is accused of not letting her leave the house with the injury visible, according to the testimony.

He is also accused of raping her after they divorced and telling her he would lose his job if she reported him.

In addition, he allegedly threatened to "blow out her brains," according to the testimony.

The two bought a house in Huntington Beach together in 2002, married a year later and divorced in November 2008, according to court records. They have one child.

Roberts also allegedly began seeing a second woman in 2006 until March 2008, according to testimony she gave during an interview with the sheriff's department in court records.

Roberts is accused of three counts of false imprisonment by violence or deceit, aggravated assault, forcible sodomy and rape against the alleged mistress.

Also, Roberts is accused of threatening a male friend of his wife's.

The second woman alleged that Roberts lied to her about his marital status and threatened to share private pictures of her or tell her parents she had an abortion if she broke up with him, according to the testimony.

The second woman said Roberts allegedly threw her around and choked her, according to the testimony. In one instance, the woman described being held in his apartment for about two hours, during which he allegedly choked her several times and at one point pinned her to the couch with his knee on her chest and his hand over her mouth, according to the testimony.

He was arrested in September and put on administrative leave until he was fired April 15. Roberts was collecting a full paycheck of $7,275 a month during the nearly six-month investigation.

His wife filed a lawsuit in November against the city accusing city officials of conspiring to allow the alleged abuse to continue by covering it up.

The second woman filed a separate lawsuit against the city making similar allegations that police officials ignored and covered up Roberts' abuse.

He has been out on $250,000 bail and is expected to begin preliminary trial 8:30 a.m. in courtroom C-55 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

The charges:

Felony domestic battery with corporal injury against his wife

Felony vandalism of property belonging to his wife

Felony criminal threats against his wife

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit of his mistress

Felony domestic battery with corporal injury against his wife

Felony aggravated assault against his wife

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit of his wife

Felony criminal threats against his wife

Felony dissuade a witness by force or threat against his wife

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit against his wife

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit against his wife

Felony aggravated assault against his mistress

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit of his mistress

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit of his mistress

Felony false imprisonment by violence or deceit of his wife

False imprisonment by violence or deceit against his son

Felony criminal threats against another man

Felony spousal rape by force of his wife

Felony sodomy by force of his mistress

Felony forcible rape of his mistress

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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