Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley announced Friday that her office would be pursuing multiple charges, including including sex offenses and obstruction of justice, against seven members of three different law enforcement agencies, including current and former members of the Oakland Police Department, the Livermore Police Department, and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. As the AP and LA Times are reporting, all seven officers are implicated in the now one-year-old scandal, first publicized in June, relating to widespread sexual contact and alleged unethical and illegal behavior by multiple law enforcement members with one teenage sex worker who's gone by the name Celeste Guap.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced disciplinary actions by the police department relating to the scandal Wednesday afternoon, which included the termination of four officers and the suspension of seven others without pay. But this is the first time that criminal charges have been suggested against any of the officers.
The LA Times also has it that "three police executives have been removed from their posts" in addition to those fired and suspended, which may refer to actions taken back in June to put several officers accused of having sex with Guap when she was underage on administrative leave.
Similarly, further disciplinary action may come to one SFPD officer who also was accused of having sexual contact with the underage girl.
Meanwhile the Richmond Police Department and Alameda County Sheriff's Department have both said that they've investigated and cleared all their officers who had contact with Guap, saying none of them did so before she turned 18.
The months-long investigation by the OPD and Mayor's Office involved over 50 interviews, 28,000 text messages, and 8,000 pages of social media.
Similarly, O'Malley says of her office's investigation, "We left no stone unturned."
The scandal began to unfold with an internal investigation into the suicide of Officer Brendan O'Brien in September 2015. O'Brien left behind a suicide note implicating Guap's actions in going to his superiors, in retaliation for his ignoring her, and saying that as many as four other officers had had sex with her while she was underage. She turned 18 in August 2015. Subsequent coverups then led to the forced resignation of Chief Sean Whent in June, which set off several weeks of internal chaos as Mayor Schaaf appointed and then fired two interim chiefs, and a whole separate scandal arose involving racist text messages. Schaaf at the time declared, "I am here to run a police department, not a frat house," and put a civilian city administrator in charge of the department until such time as a new chief can be hired.
Guap, meanwhile, is sitting in a Florida jail following her being "spirited away," allegedly through the actions of Richmond police, to a rehab facility there for heroin addiction. Guap was arrested and booked last week for allegedly biting a guard at the facility.
Contra Costa County Chief Assistant District Attorney John McMaster tells the LA Times that this accusation that she was sent to another state for some nefarious purpose is ridiculous, and she can be brought back at any time by subpoena. Two civil rights attorneys reportedly went to Guap's aid this week.
With these criminal charges today, as the Times suggests, this is "the latest chapter in a controversy that has threatened the Oakland Police Department's hopes of ending 13 years of federal oversight and caused a major shake-up in the agency’s command staff." They are referring to a federal compliance director who's been assigned to oversee the department ever since a federal judge declared this necessary in the wake of the Oakland "Riders" case, settled in 2003, in which four officers were alleged to have kidnapped people, planted evidence, and beaten citizens, while other officers turned a blind eye to their misconduct.