RIALTO — A lawsuit alleging Rialto police officers violated a waitress’ civil rights has led to a major shakeup in the department.
Allegations surfaced in late spring that officers had sex with strip club workers at police union headquarters. Kling said the punitive actions taken by the department are intended to send a message.
“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 Friday. “We have held those employees accountable, including accepting the resignations of officers that will never be police officers again.”
Not all the scrutinized officers engaged in sexual activity with the strip club workers while on duty, said Kling, “but they were held accountable for other violations and they received severe and appropriate punishments.”
Nancy Holtgreve, the strip club waitress who has brought a $500,000 lawsuit against the city of Rialto, said former officer James Dobbs got her pregnant and later threatened her. Holtgreve’s complaint, which accuses the department of failing to protect her civil rights, says the misconduct began in 2008, when officers showed up at the Spearmint Rhino Club on Riverside Avenue.
Dobbs soon began taking her to the Police Officer’s Union Hall headquarters for sex, she said.
According to papers filed through her attorney, Holtgreve said, “Occasionally, several employees of the Rhino and several officers would engage in sexual relations at the union together.”
The other officer to quit besides Dobbs was not identified, according to Kling, because he was not legally allowed to do so. Another officer who had sex with Holtgreve at the department’s narcotics office was found not to have done so on duty.
Kling said the four officers who were disciplined had not committed crimes. They remain sworn members of the department.
Holtgreve’s lawsuit against Rialto is still pending.