A suspended Los Angeles police officer claimed Tuesday in court that the Police Department violated her rights when it used her former baby-sitter to secretly search her West Hills home during an investigation of the officer's alleged sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old student.
Kathleen Oborn, 33, a four-year veteran who has been on suspension without pay for nearly two years, is suing the Police Department and her former baby-sitter, Allyson Di Conti, 23, for $10 million, charging that her rights against unlawful search and seizure were violated.
During his opening argument in U. S. District Court, Oborn's lawyer, Stephen Yagman, said the police Internal Affairs Division used Di Conti as its "agent" during their March, 1987, investigation of allegations that Oborn had sexual relations with a German youth who had stayed in her
home a year earlier as a foreign-exchange student.
Oborn, an unmarried mother of four who was assigned to a Parker Center vice unit at the time of the investigation, married the student, Andre Rossky, when he was 19 years old, Yagman said. Oborn has denied having a sexual relationship with Rossky while he was a juvenile.
Yagman said evidence in the case proves that Di Conti acted under "color of law," or as a police officer, when she helped gather evidence against Oborn. He told the six-member jury that Di Conti wore a secret recording device and took letters, a cassette tape and other property belonging to Oborn during a March 27, 1987, visit to Oborn's Blythe Street home.
"Allyson Di Conti was working as an agent of the Internal Affairs Division," Yagman said. "They were conducting a covert operation" and illegally searched the home.
However, Di Conti's attorney, Shirley Warren, said Di Conti was a civilian informant who volunteered to help the police because she believed the relationship between Oborn and Rossky was emotionally harmful to Oborn's children. Warren said Di Conti was invited into the home on March 27, 1987, and took Oborn's property even though Internal Affairs officers told her not to take anything.
Di Conti, the trial's first witness, testified she contacted police after she saw Oborn and Rossky engaged in a sexual act in a friend's garage. She said she later agreed to wear a recording device, but officers told her not to take any property from the house.
"I was told . . . to get her to talk," Di Conti said. "I wasn't told to take anything out of the house."
The trial before U. S. District Judge Jesse W. Curtis Jr. is scheduled to continue today.