Cop accused of rape can subpoena mistress’ abortion records, judge rules
A former Huntington Beach police officer accused of 19 felonies, including rape and sodomy, can subpoena the medical records of one of the alleged victims, an Orange County Superior Court judge has ruled.
James Roberts' alleged mistress told police she had an abortion and didn't report the rape and abuse earlier because Roberts had threatened to tell her devout Catholic parents about the abortion, Roberts' attorney John Barnett told the Huntington Beach Independent.
The defense shed doubt on the abortion because the date she reported having the procedure didn't add up.
"We're asking for it to show that she lied to police," Barnett said.
But Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. John Christl disagreed, saying it's not relevant whether or not she had an abortion. Christl said the threats are what's relevant because Roberts made them not knowing if in fact an abortion had taken place.
"It's a smear tactic," Christl said. "The defense is trying to dirty up the victim before the jury."
The medical records are expected to confirm whether the mistress, whose name is being withheld because she's a possible rape victim, had an abortion, or whether she lied to mislead police.
At first, Judge William Froeberg said he couldn't think of a time in his career when he had allowed abortion records as evidence in a case. But after hearing Barnett's argument, Froeberg said Friday that he would allow the subpoena only to prove whether an abortion occurred.
"It seems to me that there's a large credibility issue," Froeberg said.
Froeberg plans to review the medical records and inform both the district attorney and the defense of the results. He will then decide whether the records would be admissible for the trial.
Roberts' ex-wife also accuses him of rape, sodomy, domestic battery, aggravated assault and vandalism, among other things. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The ex-wife filed a lawsuit against Huntington Beach on behalf of herself and her young son that accuses the Police Department of covering up for Roberts when she called to report the abuse.
-- Mona Shadia, Times Community News
Photo: James Roberts. Credit: Huntington Beach Police Department