California prosecutor to charge 7 officers
OAKLAND, Calif. — Seven current and former San Francisco Bay Area police officers will be charged in a sexual misconduct scandal involving a teenager who was later arrested in Florida in an unrelated assault case, a prosecutor said Friday.
The wide-ranging scandal surfaced in June when the teenager, who described herself as a prostitute, said she had sex with about 30 law enforcement officials in Oakland and elsewhere in the region.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Friday she was waiting until she's certain the teen can be returned to California before filing charges against the officers.
The teen was jailed in Florida on suspicion of assaulting a guard at a drug treatment center where she was living.
O'Malley criticized the Richmond Police Department for helping arrange for the teen, now 19, to stay at the center on the other side of the country, saying her unavailability could hurt the prosecution if she is unable to testify.
The teen has said she had sexual encounters with six Richmond police officers and two dozen other law enforcement officials, including some from Oakland, during the past two years.
Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown and department spokesman Lt. Felix Tan didn't return phone calls and emails seeking comment.
The teen said she had sex with four officers before she turned 18 and sometimes traded sex for protection from arrest or tips about planned prostitution stings.
O'Malley identified the officers to be charged as former Contra Costa sheriff's Deputy Ricardo Perez; former Livermore police Officer Dan Black; Oakland police Officers Brian Bunton, Giovani LoVerde and Warit Utappa; and former Oakland police Officers Tyrell Smith and Leroy Johnson.
The prosecutor said Perez and LoVerde will be charged with oral copulation with a minor, a felony, and Bunton will be charged with felony obstruction of justice and misdemeanor engaging in an act of prostitution.
The other four suspects will face misdemeanor counts of engaging in prostitution and unauthorized access of a confidential criminal justice database, O'Malley said.