Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/20/2010 09:50:28 PM PST
RIALTO – The police union president on Friday slammed charges of negligence made by the attorney for a strip club worker at the center of an alleged sex scandal involving Rialto police officers.
A lawsuit filed against the city by Danuta W. Tuszynska on behalf of Spearmint Rhino bartender Nancy Holtgreve says the Rialto Police Benefit Association “maintained no safeguards nor security nor monitoring of the building” where Holtgreve alleges she had sex with police officers.
Sgt. Richard Royce, the union leader, said even though the union has locks on its building, it has no obligation to secure a facility used mostly for meetings.
“I know of no regulation that says I have to put locks on the door,” Royce said. “It’s a meeting hall for general (membership) meetings … once a month.”
Holtgreve alleges in the lawsuit that she suffered emotional and physical abuse along with civil rights violations in the wake of her relationships with Rialto police officers, which she says frequently included sex with the officers while they were on duty.
Holtgreve alleges the son she gave birth to in March was conceived with Officer James Dobbs during sex at the union hall near Ayala Drive and Base Line.
She says Dobbs, “under color of authority” became violent and threatening after the birth of her son.
Holtgreve has alleged that Dobbs was angry over her demands for child support.
Dobbs and an unnamed officer have quit the Police Department, and Chief Mark Kling has disciplined four other officers in the aftermath of an internal investigation.
Holtgreve claims in the lawsuit – which names Dobbs, Officer Lamont Quarker, Kling and the union – that she feared for her safety, and the Police Department failed to protect her when she notified authorities of the alleged abuse.
The lawsuit also says the union “had a duty to its members and public at large to monitor the activities at its Hall to prevent illegal activities, but failed in its duty.”
Failure “to maintain” its premises “especially by a law enforcement agency, is negligence per se,” the lawsuit says.
Royce said he would “be curious” to know “what statute, regulation or law” requires him to monitor activity in the hall.
“I’m under no obligation to do so,” Royce said. “Show me the law that says I have to control who has access (to the hall).”
Royce has maintained since the scandal erupted that he didn’t have knowledge of the alleged sexual activity in the building.
“Certainly that hall has not been intended for the purposes they alleged happened there,” Royce said. “Who can anticipate stuff like this?”
Royce said there were beds in the hall for officers to use after back-to-back or late shifts. “In retrospect, maybe we should have put a cot inside there, but maybe not a full mattress,” he said.
The hall also contains donated items such as exercise equipment and office equipment, Royce said.
Royce said union members were given keys to the hall when they were hired, and “a handful” of city maintenance workers also had keys.
The lawsuit says “the police did not maintain a system for determining the activity at the hall, the comings and goings, who had keys to the building, etc.”
Royce said there was an expectation that the only people who had access were police officers and the handful of maintenance workers.
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