MARTIN COUNTY (CBS SF) — The woman at the center of a police exploitation scandal in the Bay Area has been offered a plea deal for a single charge of misdemeanor battery, according to an assistant state attorney in Florida.
The woman, who goes by the moniker Celeste Guap, went to a rehabilitation facility in Florida last month apparently with the assistance of Richmond police. While there, she was accused of assaulting a guard and has been in jail since. She remains in custody on $300,000 bail.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office had initially sought felony charges for Guap, but after a closed hearing last week, Assistant State Attorney David Lustgarten decided to file a single misdemeanor battery charge.
Lustgarten said that he has extended a plea deal offer to Guap’s public defender but could not disclose the details.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced Friday that she would pursue criminal charges against seven current and former law enforcement officers, including five from Oakland police, for conduct related to Guap, an apparent victim of sex trafficking.
However, formal charges won’t be filed against the officers until it becomes clear when Guap can return to California because O’Malley expects her to testify.
Lustgarten said that he has been in touch with prosecutors at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, who inquired about the procedures in Florida and how soon Guap could return to California. When that might be remains unclear and depends on whether she takes the plea deal or decides to fight the charge there.
The most serious charges the officers will face is felony oral copulation with a minor. Former Contra Costa County sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Perez, who resigned as details of the scandal emerged, and Oakland police Officer Giovanni LoVerde have each been accused of that and if convicted could face 16 months to three years in state prison.
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Perez will also be charged with two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place.
Former Livermore police Officer Dan Black, who resigned last week, will be charged with two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and two counts of lewd acts in public.
Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton faces one count of felony conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a possible sentence of a year in prison, and one misdemeanor charge of engaging in an act of prostitution.
Retired Oakland police Officer Leroy Johnson will be charged with one count of failing to report sexual misconduct concerning a minor.
Oakland police Officer Warit Utappa will be accused of searching official criminal justice data and computer systems for an unauthorized purpose.
Former Oakland police Officer Tyrell Smith, who resigned in May, faces four counts of the same crime.
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