• Liz Venerable

Bay Area Police Sex Scandal

Photo courtesy of CBS News

As the Bay Area police sex scandal investigation continues, three police chiefs have either been fired or resigned from the Oakland Police Department.

Investigators are looking into whether officers from the Oakland Police Department and nearby jurisdictions had a sexual relationship with a girl who was allegedly a minor when some or all of the sexual relations took place. The alleged minor is now 19-years-old and describes herself as a “former prostitute.” She goes by the pseudo-name Celeste Guap.

The scandal started to unfold last September when Oakland city police began investigating the suicide of one of its officers, Brendan O'Brien.

In the suicide note left by Officer O’Brien, O’Brien stated that the girl he was in a relationship with had been sexually molested by other officers. Celeste Guap claims she slept with the officers in exchange for money, protection and for confidential information about her friend's arrest history and undercover prostitution stings.

Guap first met Officer O'Brien in 2015 when she ran to his car for help when her pimp was chasing her. They began "dating" and having sex. Guap was 17 at the time. O'Brien allegedly introduced Guap to two other officers and she met other police through social media and referrals from various cops she had slept with.

Under California law, any adult who has sex with a 17-year-old may be charged with rape, and anyone who referred Guap to others for sex could potentially be accused of human trafficking.

Photo courtesy of i2.cdn.turner.com

After the scandal broke, Guap continued to work as a sex-worker until she checked into an addiction treatment center in Florida. The Richmond Police Department helped arrange for her trip and enrollment in the addiction treatment center. However, Guap was arrested for a misdemeanor assault charge on August 29, 2016, just three days after checking into the treatment center.

Guap's lawyers and others have questioned the department's motives for arranging for the victim, who is also the key witness in the investigation, to be sent across the country for counseling.

One of Guap’s lawyers said, "There is no reason or rhyme as to why she is in Florida. She is not a drug addict. She is a child victim of human trafficking."

Officers from seven police agencies (16 from Oakland, six from Richmond, four from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, three from San Francisco, one from Livermore, one from the U.S. military's Defense Logistics Agency and a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy) were all implicated in the scandal.

Last week, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced that she would file charges against five current and former members of the Oakland Police Department, a Livermore police officer and a Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy. She said she was forced to delay the formal filing of charges, however, because Guap was out of state.

Authorities in San Francisco, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties have not said whether they plan criminal charges or are investigating.

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