Officers reassigned over Bay Area police sex scandal

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jul 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-03 11:00:37-04

By Sara Sidner and Madison Park


SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) — There’s more fallout from a sordid sex scandal that has ensnared several police departments in California’s Bay Area.

In Richmond, the city’s police chief reassigned two officers who are under investigation over a scandal centered on claims of sexual misconduct.

The investigation concerns the nature of the officers’ relationship with an 18-year-old, who calls herself Celeste Guap.

Guap, who describes herself as a former prostitute, said she became sexually involved with an Oakland police officer when she was 17, a minor.

That led to introductions to other officers from nearby jurisdictions, as many as five different departments, she told CNN. Some officers paid her for sex while others gave her sensitive information, tipping her off about prostitution stings so she could avoid them.

If allegations against the officers are proven true, they could lead to charges of statutory rape, solicitation of prostitution, and potentially sex trafficking, legal experts have said.

As the investigations unfold across various police departments, several officers have resigned or have been placed on administrative leave.

Last month, Guap told CNN there were 28 officers involved in total: Fourteen Oakland police officers, five Richmond police officers, several Alameda County Sherriff’s deputies, a Livermore police officer and a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputy.

In the latest move, the police chief in Richmond transferred two officers from roles that required interaction with youth.

Richmond police Lt. Andre Hill was removed from his assignment as a manager over the Youth and Special Services Division. Officer Jerrod Tong has been removed from his assignment as a school resource officer, according to a statement from the Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. Tong had already stepped down from his duties at the school.

“So far, there are no early indications of illegal, predatory or like deviant behavior in the performance of duty that suggests the public at large is at risk,” Butt said in a statement to CNN.

He also noted that police officers “are held to a higher standard with regard to both their personal and professional behavior because the nature of their duties require the public’s trust.”

Richmond Police Department stated that the staff transfers were necessary to maintain their ties with the community. .

“We also want to protect our relationships with the community and various organizations in which we partner with,” public information officer Bisa French said.

The scandal has so far ripped the Oakland Police Department into disarray, as it cycled through three police chiefs in just nine days. In June, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf placed the beleaguered department under civilian control. She said that they needed to root out a “toxic, macho culture” at the Oakland Police Department.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.