A Long Beach police officer pleaded innocent last week to charges of raping a 20-year-old Navy woman in October after offering to drive her from a downtown restaurant back to a ship docked at the naval station.
Robert L. Ballew, an 11-year police veteran assigned to the Community Relations Section, is charged with one count of rape and one count of oral copulation, both felonies. Pending the outcome of the criminal case and a parallel departmental investigation, Ballew has been suspended without pay, Sgt. Conrad Neutzman said.
Ballew's preliminary hearing is set for April 2 in Los Angeles Municipal Court.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Candace J. Beason said the attack occurred on the evening of Oct. 11, shortly after Ballew--off duty and driving an unmarked police car--encountered the victim at the 555 East Restaurant on Ocean Boulevard.
The woman was waiting for a friend to return to the restaurant and give her a ride back to the destroyer tender Prairie, on which she serves. But after several hours, she agreed to let Ballew drive her to the ship, Beason said. Along the way, he allegedly suggested that they go to a bar in San Pedro. But when the woman declined, Beason said, Ballew stopped the car on a dirt road near the Vincent Thomas Bridge and raped her.
After she was let out of the car, the woman wrote down its license plate number and reported the alleged attack to the Los Angeles Police Department's Harbor Division in San Pedro.