Informants sue city, county over rogue police narcotics detective

mfountain@thetribunenews.comMarch 5, 2014 

A civil lawsuit recently filed in federal court against the city and county of San Luis Obispo by two former confidential informants of disgraced narcotics detective Cory Pierce contains a bombshell—that Pierce allegedly forced the female informant to have sex with him.

On Friday, attorneys for Kip Holland and his girlfriend—identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Roe”—filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, after previously filing a claim with the city in January.

The female informant is currently in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on a warrant for grand theft and other burglary-related charges.

Although she was named in the city claim with Holland, the claim did not include the allegation of forced sex added in the lawsuit. It is the general policy of The Tribune to not identify victims, or potential victims, of sexual abuse.

According to prosecutors in his federal trial, both informants aided Pierce in acquiring cash, oxycodone and heroin, and now allege that they were forced into indentured servitude, including being kept addicted to drugs and engaging in dangerous and illegal activities.

According to prosecutors, Pierce used the informants to set up drug buys with local dealers, then later robbed them. He is currently in prison.

The federal lawsuit alleges that Pierce used his position as a detective to force the woman into engaging in sex with him, including an act of oral copulation, and on another occasion, forced sexual intercourse, the suit alleges. In an additional incident, Pierce allegedly pushed and rubbed his body up against her.

In November 2012, the woman was arrested for burglary and grand theft. In January, she and Holland reported Pierce’s conduct to the FBI and began cooperating in a federal investigation into his activities.

As a result of the woman’s cooperation with authorities, she has been placed in protective custody in the county jail. The lawsuit says she is confined to a 10- by 10-foot cell for 23 hours a day, and is not able to participate in self-improvement programs unlike other inmates in general population.

The pair are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages. Stephen Dunkle, the Santa Barbara-based attorney for the two former informants, declined to comment on the lawsuit or the discrepancies between the lawsuit and the previously filed claims, because both cases are ongoing.

San Luis Obispo City Attorney Christine Dietrick said Wednesday that the city has yet to be served with the lawsuit, and also could not comment.

Pierce joined the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 2006, was arrested by FBI agents in February 2013 and indicted a month later by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on one count of bribery and one count of extortion.

He pleaded not guilty to the bribery charge but accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to extortion. Pierce was sentenced Dec. 10 to 18 months in prison and began serving his term at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego on Jan. 27.

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