Nov 18, 2021
A federal lawsuit filed by a Santa Ana woman who reported that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions has been settled for $4.5 million. Following over three years of litigation, the CHP and State of California agreed to pay the multi-million dollar sexual assault settlement as a trial approached.
A Los Angeles Times report indicated that the first incident occurred in 2018 when CHP Officer Xavier Aguirre pulled the aforementioned woman over on the Santa Ana Freeway, citing her for driving without a license. According to the L.A. Times, the 47-year-old mother of three claims the “nightmare began” when Aguirre walked to his cruiser and turned off his department video camera.
After directing the woman to the back of his SUV, Aguirre reportedly frisked her while claiming to be searching for a weapon. During the frisk, Aguirre allegedly groped the woman’s genitalia and breasts while standing on the side of the freeway.
Additionally, the Times’ report noted that the officer later turned up at the woman’s home and sexually assaulted her again, this time next to his police cruiser while using the vehicle doors to conceal what was transpiring.
Aguirre is no longer an officer with the CHP, and the L.A. Times report noted that he has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged criminally.
Court records also indicate that a separate female alleged sexual assault by Aguirre just hours earlier on the same day that the woman who recovered the $4.5 million settlement alleges her incidents took place. The second woman also filed a lawsuit over the alleged sexual assault by the former CHP officer.
That second woman was involved in a two-car crash on the 55 Freeway near the Warner Avenue exit, according to the Times’ report. Aguirre, the first CHP officer to arrive at the scene of the accident, sent the other car away, according to the woman’s lawsuit.
Aguirre allegedly told the woman he needed to search her for contraband and then fondled her breasts over and under her shirt and groped her buttocks, waist, and thighs, according to the 2019 lawsuit.
An attorney representing the survivor who recovered the $4.5 million damages award called Officer Aguirre’s behavior an “outrageous abuse of police power.”
The L.A. Times confirmed that official records indicate Aguirre was terminated by the CHP following an internal investigation.
In a deposition, Aguirre, 23-years-old at the time of the alleged incidents, claimed that he turned off his video camera due to being “nervous and scared for his safety,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He also stated that he patted down the woman involved in the $4.5 million lawsuit because he “may have seen a bulge” which could have been a weapon.
CHP’s internal investigation confirmed Aguirre misused a law enforcement database in an effort to track the first woman down by finding her home address and appearing at the residence in uniform.
Court findings confirm that video security footage from the woman’s apartment complex displayed Aguirre arriving at the residence and directing her towards his patrol car.
The Los Angeles Times attempted to reach Xavier Aguirre, but he was reportedly not available for comment.
A June 2021 investigative report by National Public Radio (NPR) examined what the media outlet referred to as “patterns of sexual abuse” in the police disciplinary system, specifically the California Highway Patrol.
According to NPR’s investigation, the CHP fired six officers for on-duty sexual misconduct between 2014 and 2018. No criminal charges, however, were pursued in any of those cases.
NPR further analyzed sexual misconduct reports against 103 officers from departments across California and found that 85 officers engaged in non-consensual or coercive sexual misconduct. Furthermore, NPR’s investigation confirmed that public records, including documents and audio recordings obtained under California’s Right to Know Act, indicate nearly half of those officers were never criminally investigated or referred to prosecutors.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted by a law enforcement official, contact a member of Dordulian Law Group’s Sex Crimes Division today at 818-322-4056 for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation.
The #MeToo Movement has been a reckoning for many sexual predators, including those in positions of power such as law enforcement. Survivors of sexual assault or abuse may be eligible to recover financial compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. Damages awards such as the one obtained by the unidentified sexual assault survivor against the California Highway Patrol can help ensure a semblance of justice as well as an opportunity for a plaintiff to move forward on their own terms.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about filing a sexual assault civil claim. We’ve helped countless survivors obtain the justice they deserve, and we’re ready to fight on your behalf when you’re ready to pursue your case.
Founded by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG offers survivors experience, proven results, and a unique form of legal representation through our SAJE Team.
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