Wednesday, April 3, 2002
City Lawyer Charged in Sex Case Granted More Discovery Time
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A judge yesterday put off until April 19 further proceedings in the child sex solicitation prosecution of Deputy City Attorney R. Bruce Coplen to give the defense time to acquire data taken from the alleged victim’s computer.
Coplen was arrested by Los Angeles police officers March 3 after allegedly arranging to meet a boy he met over the Internet for the purpose of having sex. He was charged with attempted oral copulation with a minor and attempted sexual penetration of a minor with a foreign object, LAPD officials said.
The former chief of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office anti-gang unit was to have been assigned a preliminary hearing date yesterday. But Judge William Chidsey agreed to give Coplen and his lawyer, Charles Lindner, more time to collect data taken from the minor’s computer.
Deputy District Attorney Christina Fleming agreed to the extension.
Coplen also is seeking data taken from two of his own computers, which officials seized under a search warrant following his arrest.
The computer information would likely constitute a key part of the prosecution. Police said they began investigating Coplen in January after a teenage boy told them the attorney sent him an instant Internet message promising him $150,000 if he would meet him for sex. Lt. Daniel Mulrenin of the LAPD’s Juvenile Division said the two had met in a chat room.
Police said Coplen picked up the boy on Dec. 28 at a park near the boy’s home and took him to Coplen’s Highland Park home, where the two engaged in a sex act. Mulrenin said Coplen paid some money for the act, but less than the $150,000 that had been discussed.
After the teenager reported the incident, the LAPD’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit assumed his online identity and arranged for another meeting, police said. Coplen was arrested after he showed up for the second meeting, police said.
Coplen earned his law degree from Hastings College of the Law and became a member of the State Bar in 1978. He has spent most of his career with the City Attorney’s Office.
He currently is posted to the Real Estate and Economic Development Practice Group. He previously was chief of a unit that secured injunctions against gang activity and coordinated enforcement of anti-smoking ordinances in the city.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company