2 Rialto police officers resign, 4 disciplined amid sex scandal investigation
Two Rialto police officers have quit and four others have been severely disciplined after an internal probe was completed into allegations they had sex with strip club workers at police union headquarters, the chief said Friday.
The announcement is the latest chapter in a scandal that has sullied the image of the Rialto Police Department since allegations of group sex, on-duty sex and liaisons inside union headquarters and the agency's narcotics office by a waitress at the strip club became public this summer.
The waitress at the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club in Rialto, Nancy Holtgreve, is suing the city for $500,000, alleging the department violated her civil rights after her relationship with one officer soured when she got pregnant by him, and the officer began threatening her.
Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling said the actions taken by the department reached far beyond the two officers identified by Holtgreve and showed how seriously they pursued the sexual misconduct probe. Kling said the two officers’ resignations came as the department was pursuing their terminations.
“I do not tolerate nor will I accept behavior that is not conducive to professional law enforcement, especially when it comes to sexual misconduct while on duty," Kling said. "We have held those employees accountable, including accepting the resignations of officers that will never be police officers again.”
Kling, who describes himself as a strict disciplinarian known for cleaning up departments, acknowledged officers did use a police union building for the sex sessions.
“The other four officers were found to not have had sex on duty,” he said. “They were held accountable for other violations and they received severe and appropriate punishments.”
An officer who resigned, James Dobbs, was identified by Holtgreve in her litigation as the father of her child. Kling said he could not legally identify the other officer who quit. He said the second officer was not named by Holtgreve, but internal investigators found other evidence against him.
Kling said an investigation found none of the officers’ conduct amounted to a crime.
Holtgreve claims the misconduct began in 2008 when officers started hanging out at the Spearmint Rhino, then arranged to rendezvous at a nearby Denny's. Dobbs started taking her to the union hall of the Rialto Police Benefit Assn. for sex, she said.
"Occasionally, several employees of the Rhino and several officers would engage in sexual relations at the union together," according to her legal papers.
Holtgreve alleges that once she became pregnant by Dobbs, he threatened her repeatedly and when she reported the conduct to the department, officials failed to protect her civil rights.
Dobbs could not be reached for comment.
Holtgreve claimed Dobbs introduced her to another officer who had sex with her at the department's narcotics office. Kling said his investigators found the officer did not have sex with her while on duty.
Kling said the officer was among the other four officers disciplined for inappropriate conduct, but he remains a sworn member of the department.
-- Richard Winton
Photo Credit: City of Rialto.