A federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Eureka accuses former Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich of sexually assaulting a Mendocino County woman in her home last summer.
The woman is identified only as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit, which was lodged by a Los Angeles law firm. The alleged victim is widely known, however, in Mendocino County law enforcement circles as a supporter of police and military, and is a friend of many high ranking local officers.
The Waidelich case surfaced when Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall was notified of the alleged assault at the woman’s Ukiah home on June 13. Kendall immediately referred the allegations to Sonoma County authorities for an outside investigation.
City officials fired Waidelich three days later but the reasons, and the results of the Sonoma investigation, have been kept under wraps by local authorities. The specific allegation of sexual assault did not publicly surface until November, and only then after a review by the state Attorney General’s Office who referred the case back to Mendocino County for possible prosecution.
The Sonoma conclusions were turned over to District Attorney David Eyster in September, but for months he has refused to comment publicly on any aspect of the Waidelich case.
Eyster’s office again failed to respond to written questions about the federal lawsuit.
The Los Angeles law firm declined Thursday to elaborate on the contents of the lawsuit it filed on behalf of the Ukiah woman.
“We are letting the complaint speak for itself,” said Eric Rose, who represents the firm of Johnston & Hutchinson.
The lawsuit alleges that Waidelich, a local cop who rose through the ranks beginning in 2005 to become police chief only to be fired less than a year after his appointment, was “on duty, in uniform, and wearing a badge and carrying a firearm” when he showed up at the woman’s home and demanded sex.
Waidelich’s conduct toward the woman is described in the lawsuit as “cruel, unusual, malicious, sadistic, offensive to human dignity, sexually abusive, sexually harassing, and for his own gratification.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified general damages, medical and related expenses, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Apparently, an earlier claim for damages filed by the alleged victim against the city and its police department was routinely rejected by the city on Dec. 29, 2022. The federal lawsuit subsequently was filed on Feb. 28, according to documents.
The alleged victim contends she is undergoing counseling because of the “great mental and physical pain” suffered during her encounter with Waidelich, and the “grief, shock, humiliation, self-degradation, shame, disgust, isolation and apprehension” that followed.
The allegations that led to Waidelich’s downfall were the latest in a string of local police misconduct cases whose details authorities have largely kept under wraps.
DA Eyster has repeatedly refused to talk specifics of the Waidelich case, as he has other sex related cases involving a former Willits police lieutenant and a disgraced Ukiah police sergeant. Last summer as the Waidelich case was unfolding Eyster’s office dropped three felony sex charges against former Sgt. Kevin Murray in a plea bargain that critics called a “sweetheart deal.”
Since then, there have been revelations of alleged sexual misconduct involving the Willits officer, and a former Fort Bragg police sergeant.
Sexually related police misconduct cases in California and across the nation rank second only to use of excessive force by errant law enforcement officers, according to statistics.
Absolutely disgusting. Makes you wonder what Eyster is hiding by defending all these freaks maybe he’s just another one of them. Hasn’t gotten caught yet? Hmmm good speculation. Karma can be a real b****.