California Prosecutors to Charge 7 Officers in Sex Scandal | NECN
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California Prosecutors to Charge 7 Officers in Sex Scandal

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    A California prosecutor on Friday announced she will file criminal charges against seven law enforcement officials tied to a sex abuse scandal involving a teenager. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Friday, Sept. 9, 2016)

    A California prosecutor on Friday announced she will file criminal charges against seven law enforcement officials tied to a sex abuse scandal involving a teenager.

    The teen, now 19, said she had sex with more than a dozen police officers in the region, prompting investigations from various Bay Area police departments and the District Attorney's office. She said some of those encounters occurred before she turned 18.

    Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said she was waiting to formally file charges until the teen, Celeste Guap, could be returned to California from Florida, where she has been jailed in an assault case. The prosecutor said she needs the Guap to provide testimony in the case.

    O'Malley said five Oakland police officers, a Livermore cop and a former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office deputy will be charged in connection to the scandal.

    • Ricardo Perez, a former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office deputy who resigned, faces a felony count of oral copulation with a minor and two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place.
    • Dan Black, Livermore police officer who resigned this week, faces two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place.
    • Brian Bunton of the Oakland Police Department faces a felony count of obstruction of justice and one count of engaging in an act of prostitution.
    • Oakland police officer Warit Utappa faces a misdemeanor of conducting a search of official criminal justice data and computer systems without an authorized purpose.
    • Tyrell Smith, who resigned from the Oakland Police Department, faces four counts of the same crime Utappa is accused of.
    • Leroy Johnson, who has retired from the Oakland Police Department, faces a count of failure to report.
    • Oakland police officer Giovani LoVerde faces a felony of oral copulation with a minor.

    The DA's office investigation reviewed nearly 150,000 pages of data, including nearly 3,000 pages of Instagram postings, more than 76,000 pages of Facebook communication, nearly 60,000 text messages, more than 6,000 images, more than 500 multimedia messages and 21 videos.

    Friday's announcement is the latest fallout from the wide-ranging scandal. O'Malley said she found much of the conduct "morally reprehensible" but noted the actions of the officers on social media did not violate criminal statutes.

    On Thursday, Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris said a veteran officer tied to the scandal had resigned.

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Wednesday that four police officers were  fired following a nearly year-long investigation into scandal. Seven other officers will be suspended without pay and one will receive counseling and training, Schaaf said.

    The Oakland department cycled through three police chiefs in 10 days in June amid the sex abuse scandal.

    Last week, Guap was arrested for aggravated battery after she allegedly attacked a security officer at a voluntary rehab facility in Florida, according to an arrest report.

    Two well-known civil rights attorneys from the Bay Area are in Florida trying to secure her release.

    The sex abuse scandal ignited in September 2015 when the Oakland police department began investigating the death of one of its officers. Officer Brendan O'Brien left a suicide note that alluded to contact he had with a teenage girl.