H-SANTA MARIA

Aug 10, 2012 12:58 AM by Nikki Ibarra

Former Santa Maria police explorer files lawsuit against city, Covarrubias estate

In an exclusive interview with KSBY, we heard, for the first time, from the attorney of the former Santa Maria police explorer, who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr.

KSBY has learned a federal lawsuit has been filed by the former explorer.

Officer Covarrubias was killed by a fellow officer last January when two supervisors tried to arrest Covarrubias. They said he fired his gun first.

"Total fear, intimidation, threats of death. It's a horrible situation for a teenager to have to undergo," said attorney Terry Goldberg of Goldberg and Gage.

Goldberg, who is representing the former explorer, sat down for an exclusive interview with KSBY on Thursday at his office in Woodland Hills.

Goldberg said his client, who was 17 at the time, was molested and raped by Officer Covarrubias. Goldberg also said some officers knew about their relationship but did nothing about it.

"The city of Santa Maria failed 'Jane Doe', failed to protect her, failed to preserve the integrity of the department and failed in their job," said Goldberg.

In the 19-page lawsuit obtained by KSBY, it claimed the teen, whom the suit refers to as "Jane Doe" was involved in a sexual relationship with Covarrubias from December 31, 2011 to January 28 of this year. During that month, Covarrubias married his wife, Gloria.

"When they have an unfit police officer, the city of Santa Maria, hires an unfit police officer who fails to protect a minor and sexually molests and exploits the minor, that shows that the Santa Maria Police Department failed in their job," added Goldberg.

Goldberg said the alleged molestation and rapes occurred in police cars and even a motel, all while Officer Covarrubias was on duty.

In the papers, it said he even threatened to kill "Jane Doe" and her family, if anyone found out what was going on. "It's very clear that he knew that if this information went public that, that was the end of his career," said Goldberg.

In a statement to KSBY, the Santa Maria City Attorney's office said, "We have not completed our review of the complaint, and we have not been served. In any case, we are unlikely to have any significant comment to make concerning the allegations in the lawsuit until after substantial discovery has been completed in the case, which could take several months."

The Covarrubias estate was also named in the lawsuit. An attorney for the Covarrubias family said he won't be commenting at this time.

Meanwhile, sources told KSBY the city attorney will brief the city council on the suit in a closed door session later this month.

A copy of the lawsuit has been posted on KSBY.com under Newslinks.

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