Portland police officer pleads not guilty

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: October 28, 2011, 11:54 AM

 

A Portland police officer accused of threatening the boyfriend of his estranged wife with a gun has pleaded not guilty.

James Botaitis, 38, of Yacolt was arraigned Friday on charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary and harassment.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier set trial for Jan. 23, with a hearing on Dec. 12.

Botaitis was arrested by Vancouver police Monday after he allegedly visited his wife’s apartment and pointed a gun at her boyfriend, David Bacus, a Level II registered sex offender, according to court documents.

Bacus was convicted in Clark County in 1999 for first-degree rape of a child and sentenced to eight years in prison. He reportedly raped a young relative over seven years, starting when she was 5.

Botaitis is in the process of divorcing his wife. The two have a 7-year-old son. A court parenting plan ordered Bacus not to have contact with the Botaitis’ son because Bacus is a sex offender.

Botaitis and his attorney, Josephine Townsend, declined to comment to reporters before and after the court appearance.

John Botaitis, James Botaitis’ brother, said in a voice mail message to The Columbian that he couldn’t comment directly on the case. He did say, though, that “James was trying so hard to protect his child.”

James Botaitis is free on $100,000 bail. A no-contact order is in place preventing him from seeing his wife and her boyfriend.

Botaitis is a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. He was placed on paid administrative leave and surrendered his police-related powers.