The young woman at the center of a wide-reaching sexual exploitation case involving local law enforcement, Celeste Guap, was charged with misdemeanor battery in a Florida court Monday after her alleged altercation with a rehab staffer in late August. As the East Bay Times reports, Martin County assistant state's attorney David Lustgarten had originally filed a felony aggravated battery charge against Guap but reduced that Monday and offered a plea deal to Guap's public defender, the details of which were not revealed.
As ABC affiliate WFTV reports from Florida, "According to a Martin County Sheriff’s Office report, the incident started when [Guap] ran outside the facility and 'began flashing passing motorists.'" Guards at the rehab facility, where she had been staying for three days, were able to detain her and return her to the facility, which is where she began acting out and biting. Also, "During the entire incident, and transport, [she] was attempting to solicit sex from deputies."
Citing that the alleged incident happened in a rehab facility and that rehab patients have a tendency to "act out in an aggressive manner," in addition to Guap's lack of a criminal record, Lustgarten said he was reducing the charge against her.
Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley has been actively in touch with Florida authorities in the case following the announcement of criminal charges against seven East Bay officers last week, and Lustgarten says how soon Guap can return to California will depend on whether or not she accepts the plea deal, which was unclear as of Monday.
As KQED reports, the Richmond Police Department Monday issued a report in which it says the department has cleared all of its officers of any criminal wrongdoing, but that does not preclude future disciplinary actions related to sexual contact with Guap, including possible terminations.
The department also responded directly for the first time to allegations that they "sent" Guap away, across the country, something that Alameda County and Oakland authorities have been upset about. "We were not consulted. We were not informed. And we protested once we learned she had been moved. We are now working to get [Guap] back here. And if the agency that sent her to Florida does not pay for her to come back, we will pay her airfare to come back to the state," O'Malley has said.
Richmond authorities clarified that Guap's rehab and airfare to Florida were funded by the Richmond Police Department’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit, via the state's Victim Compensation Program, and the action was taken to remove her from the area because of "prior victimization unrelated to law enforcement sexual misconduct."
In the new report, Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown refers to Guap as an "adult female teenager" and "self-admitted sex worker" who displayed a "lack of reticence to be so publicly braggadocious about her own behavior and health issues."
The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department has yet to formally respond to O'Malley's charge against former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Ricardo Perez, whom O'Malley's office has accused of oral copulation with a minor indicating he is one of four law enforcement officers implicated in sexually exploiting Guap before she turned 18. Perez has already resigned.
ABC 7 details all the rest of the charged officers, who had not been named as of last week:
The most serious charges the officers will face is felony oral copulation with a minor. Former Contra Costa County sheriff's Deputy Ricardo Perez, who resigned as details of the scandal emerged, and Oakland police Officer Giovanni LoVerde have each been accused of that and if convicted could face 16 months to three years in state prison.
Perez will also be charged with two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place.
Former Livermore police Officer Dan Black, who resigned last week, will be charged with two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and two counts of lewd acts in public.
Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton faces one count of felony conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a possible sentence of a year in prison, and one misdemeanor charge of engaging in an act of prostitution.
Retired Oakland police Officer Leroy Johnson will be charged with one count of failing to report sexual misconduct concerning a minor.
Oakland police Officer Warit Utappa will be accused of searching official criminal justice data and computer systems for an unauthorized purpose.
Former Oakland police Officer Tyrell Smith, who resigned in May, faces four counts of the same crime.
It should be noted that Livermore officer Dan Black, speaking to ABC 7's Dan Noyes last Thursday or Friday, claimed he was still employed by the department and denied that he ever paid for sex.