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Santa Maria sued in case of officer's alleged sex crime

August 10, 2012 |  2:03 pm

Albert Covarrubias Jr.A teenage girl who was in a sexual relationship with a Santa Maria police officer has sued the city over alleged negligence in operating a police department youth program.

The girl -- known in the federal lawsuit only as Jane Doe -- was 17 when she was involved with Albert Covarrubias Jr., an officer who was fatally shot on Jan. 29 as other members of the Santa Maria department tried to arrest him for alleged sex crimes.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses the city of failing to properly run the police Explorers program, in which the girl participated. 

"Such programs are known to be plagued with inappropriate sexual misconduct," the suit said. 

The suit also seeks damages from Covarrubias' estate and his widow, Gloria, whom he had wed just three weeks before his death.

Other officers knew about the relationship between Covarrubias and Jane Doe but failed to stop it, according to the suit.

Covarrubias was depicted as a predator who told Jane Doe "he would kill her boyfriend and her family" if she didn't sleep with him.

The suit was filed by Woodland Hills attorneys Terry M. Goldberg, Bradley C. Gage and Milad Sadr. The Santa Maria city attorney's office has declined comment.

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-- Steve Chawkins 

Photo: Albert Covarrubias Jr. Credit: Associated Press

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