OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley filed criminal charges Friday against the first two of seven East Bay police officers she plans to prosecute in connection with the sexual exploitation of a teenager at the center of a wide-ranging scandal.
Former Livermore police officer Dan Black, 49, who resigned his post, is charged with two counts of engaging in prostitution, two counts of performing lewd acts, and one count of giving alcohol to a person under 21.
The crimes allegedly occurred in Berkeley in April after Black bought dinner for the woman, according to the charges.
The young woman, given the name of Jane Doe in the criminal complaints, is now 19. Her mother is an Oakland police dispatcher.
Retired Oakland police officer Leroy Johnson is charged with failing to report suspected child abuse in September 2015 after the teenager told him in a Facebook message that she had engaged in sex with other Oakland officers and was underage in some of the encounters.
Jane Doe was in Puerto Rico with her mother at the time, according to the complaint, which said that Johnson was a family friend of both mother and daughter.
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The complaint signed by Deputy District Attorney Sabrina Farrell alleges that after Jane Doe sent Johnson the message, he wrote back, “Tell me you were and (sic) adult,” and she responded, “I’d be lying.”
As an officer, Johnson had a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse.
Both Black and Johnson are scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on Oct. 4. The crimes they are accused of are misdemeanors.
O’Malley announced her plan to charge the seven present and former officers, including five from Oakland, on Sept. 9, saying that “a handful of officers brought shame on the department.”
But she said she needed to wait until Jane Doe returned from Florida and was available to testify before the charges could be filed.
The young woman returned to the Bay Area on Wednesday in the company of her lawyers. She was taken to a drug rehabilitation facility in Florida last month and then was jailed for 17 days on charges of assaulting a guard. A plea bargain in which she pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge enabled her to return.
The district attorney’s office did not indicate when charges will be filed against the other five officers named by O’Malley last week.
The complaint against Black alleges that on April 8 and 13, he arranged to pick up Jane Doe near her home in his motor home.
On April 8, he took her to dinner at a Berkeley restaurant and when the conversation turned sexual, he allegedly said, “Just to be clear, I’m not paying you, but I will buy you dinner,” according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the two later engaged in oral copulation in the motor home in a parking lot visible from the street, that they engaged sexual intercourse the next morning at the same location, and that Black gave her alcoholic drinks inside the vehicle.
On April 13, Black allegedly paid for their dinner at an Albany restaurant and then parked the motorhome in Berkeley in an industrial area near the waterfront, where the two engaged in oral copulation, the complaint said.
The other five men whom O’Malley plans to charge include former Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Perez and four present and former Oakland officers.
The most serious charge announced by O’Malley is oral copulation with a minor, a felony that is punishable by up to three years in prison upon conviction.
O’Malley said she will charge Perez and Oakland police officer Giovanni LoVerde with that crime.
Perez will additionally be accused of two misdemeanor counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place, she said.
Oakland police officer Brian Bunton will be charged with felony conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a possible sentence of a year in prison, and one misdemeanor count of engaging in prostitution.
Former Oakland police officer Tyrell Smith, who resigned in May, faces four counts of searching official criminal justice data and computer systems for an unauthorized purpose. Oakland police officer Warit Utappa will be charged with one count of that crime.
O’Malley said investigators in her office believe they have evidence that Smith and Utappa engaged in “in-person sexual contact” with the teenager in Contra Costa County, but said it is up to prosecutors in that county to decide whether to press charges.
The initial investigation was spurred by the suicide of Oakland police Officer Brendan O’Brien in September 2015. A judge overseeing the department’s court-mandated reforms criticized the pace of the internal investigation in March. Details of the scandal started emerging in media reports in May.
Richmond police, who ultimately investigated 11 officers and disciplined or fired an undisclosed number of them, did not learn of their officers’ involvement until after the scandal was reported in the media.
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