Prosecution of seven California Bay Area police officers in a sexual misconduct scandal remains frozen while the teenage victim and main witness sits in a Florida jail on an unusually high bond.
The young woman wound up in Martin County Jail after being sent 2,500 miles to a Stuart drug rehabilitation facility by a police department that stated in a memo made public that its own officers engaged in misconduct with her. Her bond after being arrested Monday on a single charge of aggravated battery: $300,000.
According to the East Bay Express report, a decision will be made early this week on whether the state attorney’s office in Martin County will prosecute the 19-year-old, referred to publicly as “Celeste Guap.”
The Alameda County prosecutor’s office never wanted Guap anywhere but the Bay Area. Though she’s alleged being trafficked for paid sex since 12 and sex acts with 29 officers over five law enforcement agencies starting at age 16, according to The San Francisco Chronicle, what personal support system she has lives in the Bay Area. That includes her immediate family.
Prosecutors, particularly of sexual crimes, don’t like victims on the opposite coast from those connections. On Friday, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office announced plans to file charges against seven California Bay Area current or former police officers.
That includes former Contra Costa sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez, one count of oral copulation with a minor and two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place; Giovani LoVerde, one count of oral copulation with a minor; Livermore Police Officer Dan Black, two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and engaging in a lewd act in a public place. Others got accused of using police resources to get Guap information she wanted as quid pro quo for sex.
“The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office did not make arrangements for or participate in sending her to Florida,” the office wrote in announcing the charges. “To the contrary, we protested her removal from California where she could receive the services she wanted and requested. An agency outside of Alameda County made arrangements to send her out of state, against our wishes and advice.”
Alamenda County encompasses Oakland, the department where the scandal began. Guap told KGO Channel 7 she threatened Oakland officer Brendan O’Brien with revealing their sexual relationship in September 2015. He committed suicide soon after. His suicide note exposed other Oakland officers.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday that Oakland fired four officers and suspended seven others.
But Guap got sent to Stuart’s Wellness Counseling and Detoxification by the Richmond Police Department, reports the East Bay Express. As several Bay Area media outlets have reported, Richmond’s got its own internal investigation of inappropriate behavior with Guap. Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown wrote in an August memo seen by the Mercury News “the evidence will likely sustain multiple violations of policies — noncriminal — against several officers.”
The East Bay Express says the Richmond department paid for the rehab trip using Victim’s Compensation Fund money and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office told the Express it helped process the application.