OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A former Oakland police officer accused of crimes in connection with a sexual exploitation scandal that roiled the department and others in the Bay Area has been ordered to stand trial on a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor count of prostitution.
At the preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward Thursday of Brian Bunton, 41, the 19-year-old woman at the center of the scandal testified that she had sex with Bunton at a motel in exchange for getting tipped off about an undercover prostitution sting.
Jasmine Abuslin, who went by the name Celeste Guap, is the victim of alleged sex trafficking and the daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher. She has been connected to investigations of dozens of law enforcement officers throughout the Bay Area.
Abuslin was so nervous at one point during the questioning Thursday that she vomited the water she had been drinking. “This is the first time she has come face to face with him in the courtroom and retell the story,” said Abuslin’s attorney, Adante Pointer. “I imagine she has a lot of nerves and emotions that she is trying to deal with.”
Bunton was the first officer to appear in court last September for being involved with the young woman, who investigators say was underage during her sexual encounters with some officers but had sex with Bunton after she was 18.
Defense attorney Dirk Manoukian attacked Abuslin’s credibility, and said his client lied about the undercover operation, so technically, no crime was committed. “There was no undercover, my client was trying to help her by telling her to stay off the street and out of the rain,” said Manoukian.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Rogers ordered Bunton to stand trial on the charges.
Bunton, who remains out of custody on bail, will return to court on June 5.