Taxpayer money to go to SDPD love triangle case?

Posted at 8:43 AM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 19:14:21-04

SAN DIEGO - The City Council Tuesday unanimously refused to pay for the defense of a San Diego police officer who is being sued in connection with an affair involving three cops.

Officer Stephanie Audette is accused in a lawsuit filed in February of obtaining data from a cell phone owned by Riverside police Officer Gioconda Hychko.

"Officer Audette acted outside the scope and course of her employment, and providing her with a defense would create a specific conflict of interest between the city and Officer Audette," council President Sherri Lightner said.

Hychko's legal action names Audette, the city of San Diego and Verizon as defendants. Audette is still employed by the city.

According to the complaint, Hychko's husband -- also an SDPD officer -- became romantically involved with Audette around three years ago. After the plaintiff learned about the relationship, she had Verizon block Audette from calling her or her husband's phone, the document says.

Hychko alleges that Audette, a former Verizon employee, got a friend still working for the firm to unblock her number.

She also alleges that while unblocking the number, the defendant accessed private account information like their home address, call and message histories and billing information.

The complaint says Hychko wouldn't have known about the breach, except for records she obtained last August of an SDPD disciplinary hearing over her husband's relationship with Audette. In the hearing, Audette admitted to tampering with the phone account, according to the complaint.

Plaintiff's lawyers Brandi Harper and Joseph Bolander wrote that SDPD management was aware of Audette's alleged actions as early as July 2013 and failed to discipline her, and that their client had an expectation of privacy from Verizon. They're asking for unspecified damages.