OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The woman at the center of the law enforcement sex scandal involving at least 30 officers across the Bay Area has filed a suit against Contra Costa County, according to her attorney.
Oakland-based attorney John Burris announced Friday that he would provide information about a federal lawsuit filed against Contra Costa County, County Sheriff David Livingston and Deputy Sheriff Ricardo Perez alleging that Perez sexually abused, exploited and repeatedly victimized the young woman formerly known as Celeste Guap when she was a teenager.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday, according to Burris.
The 30-year-old Perez is currently standing trial in Contra Costa County on felony charges of unlawful sex with a minor and oral copulation with a minor as well as two misdemeanor charges of engaging in lewd conduct in public.
The now 19-year-old victim, who worked as a teen prostitute, was only 17 at the time of her multiple encounters with Perez in 2015.
Perez is one of seven current and former law enforcement officers who were charged with crimes in connection with the expansive scandal. He is one of three facing felony charges, in addition to Oakland police Officers Giovanni LoVerde and Brian Bunton.
The investigation first surfaced in Oakland after police Officer Brendan O’Brien killed himself in September 2015, apparently because of his involvement with the victim, and left a note indicating other officers were involved.
But an investigation into the matter languished until a federal court monitor overseeing longstanding reforms found out about the case months later. The court found numerous flaws in how Oakland handled the investigation, extending the department’s reform efforts.
The latest lawsuit is the third filed in connection with the sexual misconduct case involving the victim.
Last week, a federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of the teen that named former police Chief Chris Magnus, current Chief Allwyn Brown, Lt. Brian Dickerson, Lt. Andre Hill, Sgt. Armando Moreno, Sgt. Mike Rood, Officer Jerred Tong and Officer Terrance Jackson as well as the city of Richmond.
Back in May, an earlier suit filed against the city of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department was settled when the Oakland City Council approved paying nearly $1 million to settle her claim against officers who she alleged had violated her civil rights.
“Perez’s conduct was despicable,” Burris said in a statement Friday. “Perez, as a law enforcement officer, took an oath to protect teenage sex workers against pimps and other predators but he willfully violated his oath by satisfying his personal sexual fantasies.”
The suit alleges that Perez started requesting and receiving nude photos of the victim in July 2015. He also sent her multiple photographs of his penis, including photos when he appeared to be on duty.
He began having sex with her the same month and eventually had sex with her at least six times. When she told him she was underage, his response was, “whatever,” according to the suit.
He continued exploiting her after she turned 18. The victim told him that she viewed the relationship as an exchange for protection, according to the suit.
In addition to exploiting her himself, Perez failed to report the abuse of the victim, in apparent violation of state law which requires police officers and other public officials to report child abuse.
The suit also names Sheriff David Livingston for failing to conduct training and supervise Perez on his responsibilities regarding abused minors.
Officials at the Contra Costa County counsel’s office and the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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