OAKLAND (KPIX) — In an eight-page claim, the young woman at the center of a Bay Area police sex scandal — referred to in the document as J.A. — is asking for $66 million in punitive damages from the city of Oakland.
The claim alleges no fewer than 11 federal and 6 state law violations.
- Download the claim (PDF)
- Related: Charges Filed Against 2 Of 7 Officers To Be Prosecuted In Bay Area Police Sex Scandal
KPIX legal analyst, retired judge LaDoris Cordell said the claim is Step One in a legal battle about to play out.
“(Step One is) requesting that there be a finding by the jury that the city and the police department are liable, that they basically endorsed this action by failure to enforce its policies and its guidelines,” Cordell said.
Page four of the claim states “these officers, sheriff’s deputies, their supervisors and city and county employers either directly engaged in, stood by with a blind eye, or acted to cover up this modern-day slavery of J.A. by their own sworn officers in order to engage in sexual acts with her while she was a minor.”
The claims also line up against individual officers — like now-retired sergeant LeRoy Johnson, for failing to report — and deceased officer Brendan O’Brien, whose revelations in a suicide note touched off an investigation that has spread like wildfire across the Bay Area.
Also named: former Oakland police chief Sean Whent.
Judge Cordell says the implication of Whent’s name in the claim shows clear legal intent “that chief Whent knew that these officers were doing this and did nothing about it.”
Page six of the claim alleges as much: “After learning that J.A. was a victim of sexual exploitation, the above-referenced chief, sergeant and officers were obligated to protect her from trafficking and exploitation. Instead, they continued to exploit her by trading money, information and/or protection for sex. Instead of helping J.A. find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade.”
The city of Oakland has 45 days to respond to the claim, which it will almost certainly deny, triggering a lawsuit yet to be filed.