A San Diego police sergeant arrested earlier this year on suspicion of stalking his ex-girlfriend pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony and misdemeanor charges related to allegedly harassing the woman over the course of several months.
Mariusz Czas, 43, who worked for the San Diego Police Department for 18 years, is charged with three felony counts -- stalking, extortion and false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud or deceit -- and five misdemeanors -- two counts of making harassing phone calls and one count each of false imprisonment, disobeying a court order and destroying or concealing documentary evidence.
The complaint alleges the conduct occurred between April and July of last year. An investigation began June 29, 2020.
Following an investigation spanning seven months, Czas was arrested in February. He remains out of custody after posting $100,000 bail and entered his pleas virtually at Tuesday's arraignment.
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According to court records, the relationship between Czas and his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend ended in May 2020 and the woman was granted a temporary restraining order against him later that year.
Following the break-up, she went to his apartment to retrieve some of her belongings. After she left, Czas conducted a traffic stop on her and asked her why she was leaving him, the documents state.
He later arrived at the ex-girlfriend's mother's home unannounced and sent the mother text messages asking about his ex-girlfriend, the woman claimed. The court documents state that it is unknown how he obtained the mother's address or phone number.
He also allegedly showed up at the ex-girlfriend's workplace and confronted her about their relationship.
"She believed Sgt. Czas was following her or tracking her," the documents state. "(She) changed her phone number so Sgt. Czas would not contact her. Sgt. Czas somehow located the new phone number."
In the following month, she began receiving text messages from unknown numbers demanding money and threatening to post nude photos of her on porn websites or send the pictures to her contacts. She stated she believed Czas was behind those texts, though Czas had claimed to her that he was also a victim of the same "hacker" and would contact investigators to look into it.
A review of Czas' searches on police databases showed that he conducted records checks to obtain the ex-girlfriend's license plate number and her new boyfriend's address and other personal information, according to court documents.
The ex-girlfriend stated she was "so fearful" of Czas that she and her current boyfriend were planning to move out of the state.
Czas was relieved of his police duties last June after the woman reported the allegations to police. He worked for the department in a desk assignment that required no contact with the public until his arrest, according to Lt. Shawn Takeuchi of the SDPD.
Following his arrest, the officer -- who was assigned to the SDPD Traffic Division when the allegations against him came to light -- was suspended without pay, Takeuchi said.
Czas is next due in court on August 25.
Officials said Tuesday that the investigation began June 29, 2020, after a woman reported to a local law enforcement agency that she was being harassed by her ex-boyfriend. Investigators from the San Diego Police Department interviewed her the following day, and Czas, 42, was then relieved of police duties and reassigned to a role with no public interaction.
Since July of last year, investigators conducted additional interviews and searched Czas' home after obtaining a search warrant, and met several times with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to discuss the case.
"SDPD has zero tolerance for domestic abuse in any form," the San Diego police said in a news release Wednesday that contained information regarding the arrest. "All of our personnel will continue to be held to a high standard that our community deserves."
Czas was taken to the county jail Wednesday morning for booking, officials said. He is being held on $100,000 bail. He is due in court in downtown San Diego on Feb. 19.