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Seven officers charged in teen sex scandal

Seven law enforcement officers from three Bay Area police departments have been charged in connection with an expansive sexual exploitation scandal, including five with the Oakland Police Department.

In a news conference Friday, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced charges against a Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy, a Livermore police officer and four Oakland police officers.

Contra Costa County sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Perez, who resigned as details of the scandal emerged, has been charged with one count of felony oral copulation with a minor and with two counts of committing a lewd act in a public place.

Dan Black, a Livermore police officer who left the department this week, was charged with two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and two acts of committing a lewd act in a public place.

Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton has been charged with one count of felony obstruction of justice and one count of engaging in an act of prostitution.

Officer Tyrell Smith, an Oakland police officer who resigned in May, has been charged with four counts of conducting search of criminal justice system data without authorized purpose.

Smith had sexual conduct with Guap but it happened in Contra Costa County outside of O’Malley’s jurisdiction, she said.

Retired Oakland police Sgt. Leroy Johnson was charged with failure to report sexual misconduct against a minor. Oakland police Officer Giovani LoVerde was charged with felony oral copulation with a minor.

In arriving at the decision, O’Malley said she reviewed 150,000 pages of data dating back to January 2015, including thousands of pages of communications via Instagram, Facebook and text messages.

O’Malley said:

“We left no stone unturned in terms of the evidence.”

Other officers could face charges in Contra Costa County, San Joaquin County and San Francisco, she said.

The expansive sexual exploitation scandal involves a woman who goes by the moniker “Celeste Guap,” an apparent victim of sex trafficking since she was a minor.

O’Malley said her office conducted four interviews with Guap in the course of her investigation as well as with numerous law enforcement officers and other witnesses.

Guap apparently had a relationship with Oakland police Officer Brendan O’Brien, who killed himself in September 2015 and left a suicide note implicating other officers in the scandal.

Oakland police opened an internal affairs investigation and interviewed Guap for the first time a few days later.

On Wednesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth said that four Oakland police officers would be fired for their role in the scandal. They did not name the officers.

The city’s administrative investigation found that those officers had engaged in a litany of misconduct, including attempted sexual assault, engaging in lewd conduct in public, assisting in the crime of prostitution, assisting in the evading arrest for the crime of prostitution, accessing law enforcement databases for personal gain, being untruthful to investigators and failing to report a violation of law or rules.

Officers at other Bay Area law enforcement agencies have also been implicated in the case, including in the district attorney’s office, where former Oakland police Capt. Ricardo Orozco was fired for contact with the woman.

Richmond police Chief Allwyn Brown said in August that an investigation of Richmond officers seemed likely to uncover department violations but no violations of law.

Richmond police Officer Jerrod Tong was placed on leave in connection with the investigation in July after he was reassigned away from positions where he had any interaction with youth.

Lt. Andre Hill, a department spokesman, was also reassigned from his role as manager of the Youth and Special Services Division, but remains on active duty with the department.

Guap, meanwhile, was flown to a Florida rehabilitation facility in August and was arrested for allegedly assaulting a guard on Aug. 29. She remains in jail under $300,000 bail, according to jail records.

O’Malley said an outside agency, reportedly the Richmond Police Department, arranged to send Guap to the facility in Florida against the wishes of the district attorney’s office. They are working to get her back to California and expect she will testify.

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