SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) — A San Leandro police officer has resigned after he was charged with three counts of having sex with a 17-year-old member of the Police Explorer program, authorities announced Tuesday.
Marco Becerra, 26, has confessed to being in a sexual relationship with the girl in September and October and has resigned from his position, San Leandro police Sgt. Dan Leja wrote in a probable cause statement.
Charges against Becerra, who worked for the department for three years and lives in San Lorenzo in unincorporated Alameda County, were filed on Nov. 8 and he pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned the following day.
He’s free on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 10 for a pre-trial hearing.
San Leandro police said they began investigating Becerra on Oct. 13 when they received a report from the Alameda County Social Services
Agency, which is a mandatory reporter of alleged sexual misconduct.
At the conclusion of the criminal investigation, the case was presented to the D.A. and Becerra was charged with three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
“I am upset and disappointed by the unethical and criminal behavior of one of our officers,” said Police Chief Jeff Tudor. “These actions are absolutely inconsistent with the ethical standards of the San Leandro Police Department and we will not tolerate this type of behavior. We are deeply concerned for the victim and her family, and we respect their concerns for maintaining privacy in this matter.”
Becerra’s defense attorney Michael Rains said Becerra “has the highest regard for the San Leandro Police Department and feels ashamed and sorry that he has created a possible smear on the great employees of that agency.”
Rains said the relationship between Becerra and the 17-year-old “was consensual in every sense of the word” and “they had very strong emotional feelings for one another” but Becerra knows that it was wrong for him to have sex with the girl.
The Police Explorer program is a program that the San Leandro Police Department offers to individuals who are interested in a career in law enforcement. The department has temporarily suspended the program while an internal review is conducted.
Rains said Becerra’s short career with the San Leandro Police Department was “successful” because he became a member of its SWAT and
emergency response teams but Becerra realizes that his conduct has very likely cost him his career as a law enforcement officer.