San Diego PD Officer Stephanie Audette is accused of illegally tampering with the cell phones of two married officers, after her affair with SDPD officer Kevin Hychko was discovered in 2013.
Kevin’s then-wife, Riverside Officer Gioconda Hychko, reportedly put a block on Audette’s number after discovering the affair.
Audette, however, used her authority as an officer and her contact at former employer Verizon to remove the block on her number, a recent lawsuit claims.
Giocanda, the plaintiff in the case, says she didn’t file litigation until nearly three years after the alleged tampering because she didn’t know about it until the summer of 2015, when she saw transcripts from her husband’s disciplinary hearing.
Kevin Hychko was eventually dismissed from SDPD.
The suit, filed in February, seeks punitive and exemplary damages against the city, Verizon and Audette, who previously worked for Verizon, according to the San Diego Tribune.
“San Diego Police Department management officials, up to an including the chief of police, were aware of Audette’s illegal and tortuous conduct as early as July 2013, however, the department took no disciplinary action against Audette, and by not doing so condoned and ratified said conduct,” the lawsuit says.
Also named in the suit is a current Verizon employee, identified only as J.D., and described as a friend of Audette’s who hacked into Hychko’s phone, NBC San Diego reports.
“The city could find itself culpable for some of these actions,” says Chris Morris, a former assistant San Diego city attorney who has handled numerous police misconduct cases.
Kevin Hychko met Audette in January 2013 when he pulled her over for a traffic infraction and discovered she was a recruit in the San Diego Police Academy, the Tribune reported. Their brief, romantic relationship ended in spring of 2013.
Last week, the City Council voted unanimously not to pay for Audette’s representation in the lawsuit.
The city attorney’s office says Kevin Hychko was recommended for termination from the force “based on allegations he fostered separate relationships with three women, including Audette … and that he was dishonest in response to questioning from his superiors”.
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