06:47 PM PDT on Monday, July 19, 2010

By PAUL LaROCCO
The Press-Enterprise

Four Rialto police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after allegations surfaced that they had sex while on duty with Spearmint Rhino waitresses at a police union building.

The officers, whose names were withheld because the personnel investigation is not complete, are among six being investigated, Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling said.

“They’re serious allegations and we took the appropriate action until we can prove or disprove them,” Kling said.

Kling said he became aware of the allegations on May 5, when a woman lodged a complaint about one officer’s behavior. According to The Associated Press, the 37-year-old strip club waitress said the officer impregnated her, then abused her in a dispute about the child.

The woman told police that on-duty, uniformed officers would take strip club waitresses to the Rialto Police Benefits Association office during graveyard shifts to have sex, The Associated Press reported.

Sgt. Richard Royce, union president, said Monday that he had no prior knowledge of the alleged behavior but has addressed it.

“Certainly, as a union, we do not support that kind of activity taking place on or around union property.”

Royce said all union members, regardless of whether they had union business, had keys to the building.

He said that’s now “been taken care of” by having the locks changed and members being granted access only when they have legitimate business.

“I don’t think it’s widespread,” Royce said. “I don’t want one person to taint the other 148 people I represent.”

In recent years, turmoil within the Rialto Police Department had largely subsided after a rocky period before Kling’s hiring that saw the department nearly disbanded.

The chief said Monday that he sees these allegations as “an opportunity for organizational growth.”

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