David Kalish, an openly gay deputy police chief with the Los Angeles Police Department, has been relieved of duty after a five-month criminal investigation into allegations of decades-old misconduct, authorities said. The 49-year-old Kalish, who was among the finalists last year to become head of the LAPD, was placed on paid leave pending a decision by prosecutors on whether to file charges. Police chief William Bratton relieved Kalish of his police powers.
Police officials wouldn't comment on the allegations against Kalish, but the criminal investigation coincided with the filing of a civil complaint in October. A man claims that Kalish "harassed, sexually molested, and assaulted him" while he was a youth in the Explorer program during the late 1970s. The man is seeking $25,000 from the city of Los Angeles and asserts that he suffered damages of "severe and permanent emotional distress accompanied by physical manifestations." Kalish, who could not be immediately reached for comment early Wednesday, held the rank of police officer in the late 1970s. California's statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases was lifted by state legislators during the mid 1990s, allowing prosecutors to charge potential suspects in decades-old cases.
Kalish, a 28-year veteran, supervises about 2,000 sworn and civilian police employees, overseeing the Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Wilshire, and Pacific area stations. He is among the youngest commanders to hold the rank of deputy chief. Kalish was one of only a few deputy chiefs to stay in his post after Bratton took over as police chief last fall. Police commission president Rick Caruso declined to comment on Kalish's case other than to say that Kalish is "well respected" and that the case "is being handled no differently than any other sworn officer at LAPD."