"She's obviously devastated because this was something that you would not expect from law enforcement. It's a significant breach of not only their duty, but the law," says Cleve McKnight, the attorney representing the 21-year-old woman, who claims a CHP officer raped her after he and another officer followed her home.
The woman says it happened after she left the Sky Bar on Rosedale Highway with two friends around 2 a.m. Friday. She says she was headed to Denny’s on Buck Owens Boulevard and needed to get gas. That's when a Sheriff's deputy pulled her over for speeding in the area of Merle Haggard Drive and Highway 99. The deputy then called CHP to give her a field sobriety test.
"They not only took her through field sobriety, which apparently she did not pass, but offered her an opportunity to go home instead of arresting her,” McKnight says. “Allowing her to drive, which put everyone in Bakersfield on the roads at that time in jeopardy, and the victim and her passengers in jeopardy. So there was a real dereliction of duty.”
McKnight says there's plenty of evidence to build their case, including a condom the woman says one of the officers used.
“There’s a lot of corroborating physical evidence. We’re going to have GPS reports on the vehicle the officers were operating. It should be timed GPS reports so that we know where they were, when they were there,” he says. “We also have corroborating evidence from the Kern County Sheriff’s office because that was an officer who was originally involved on the stop of the victim. And, then finally, they’ve collected physical evidence from the scene of the incident.”
The woman says one CHP officer followed her into her bedroom while the other CHP officer carried her drunk friend into the house while their patrol car was parked outside. Those two CHP officers, whose names have not been released, are under investigation and off patrol duty.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood says his office is analyzing evidence and not releasing any more information on this case at this time. The District Attorney’s office says the DNA samples were sent to its lab Tuesday, but it could take around 30 days to get test results back.