Police officer accused of threatening wife's new boyfriend

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 25, 2011, 3:53 PM

 

A Portland police officer went to the Vancouver apartment of his estranged wife and allegedly pointed a gun at her new boyfriend and threatened to kill him, according to court documents.

James Botaitis, 38, of Yacolt made his first appearance Tuesday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree assault, first-degree burglary and felony harassment.

Judge Scott Collier set bail at $100,000 and scheduled an arraignment hearing for Friday.

Defense attorney Tom Phelan said Botaitis, a 10-year veteran police officer, planned to post bond.

Botaitis was arrested 6 p.m. Monday by Vancouver police officers following a domestic disturbance at his wife’s apartment in the 900 block of Southeast 136th Avenue.

The couple are in the process of divorcing, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Botaitis first knocked on the door. After his wife, Danielle Botaitis, answered, the defendant asked if someone else was there. She told him it was none of his business. Then, James Botaitis allegedly barged into her apartment with a pistol and went to the bedroom, finding her new boyfriend there.

“James comes to the closed master bathroom door and tells (his wife) that he will shoot and kill him in the bathroom,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court.

That’s when Botaitis ordered the new boyfriend from the bathroom and to get on the ground. He allegedly pointed the pistol at him. The boyfriend complied.

“David Bacus (the new boyfriend) fears for his life and that he will be shot by James,” according to the affidavit.

Then, the defendant put the pistol back in his holster, talked with his wife and left the apartment, according to court documents.

Public records show that Bacus is a Level 2 sex offender. He was convicted in Clark County in 1999 of first-degree rape of a child and sentenced to 8½ years in prison. He reportedly raped a minor family member over seven years, starting when she was 5.

The pistol believed used in the incident was confiscated, Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dodds told the judge. Should he be released from jail, Botaitis was ordered to not have any firearms.

Phelan told the judge that Botaitis has no other guns at home; his work-issued firearm is in a locker at the Portland Police Bureau.

Portland police Lt. Robert King said Botaitis will be placed on paid administrative leave and will surrender his police-related powers as the investigation is under way.

According to court documents, the couple’s divorce is nearly finalized. They have a 7-year-old son; he lives with James Botaitis during the week and with his mother on weekends. The court parenting plan stated that the son cannot have any contact with Bacus, as he is a sex offender.