Oakland, CA — An abused little girl was only 12-years-old when she was forced into the sex trade, forever altering the course of her life. For years, this little girl was “exploited by pimps” when she finally broke away and made it to an Oakland police officer. For a brief moment, she thought she was safe — but, according to a recent lawsuit, she was wrong.
In September of last year, Officer Brendan O’Brien killed himself a little more than a year after police say his wife, Irma Huerta-Lopez, also took her life. Although police have still not revealed the reason why, immediately after O’Brien’s suicide, an internal affairs probe found that he was the officer who met the underage sex slave, Celeste Guap.
It has now been revealed through a lawsuit, that instead of helping the distraught sex-trafficked child, O’Brien and more than 30 other law enforcement officers “continued to traffic, rape, victimize and exploit a teenage girl who needed to be rescued,” according to a legal claim filed with the Oakland city attorney’s office. “Instead of helping [the teen] find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade,” the claim adds, according to the Post.
Months after the probe was launched, it sent shockwaves through the department and eventually spread to other departments.
The public became aware of the investigation after Guap went public and the investigation revealed a massive conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse by dozens of California cops.
“It appears to be a cesspool here,” local attorney, John Burris, responsible for a 2003 federal probe into the Oakland police department said. “But you gotta keep working at it to drain the swamps.”
As Oakland scrambles to hold on to what little shred of dignity they think they have left, Gaup, now 19, is seeking $66 million in damages from the city, its police force, its former chief and multiple officers in a lawsuit that is sure to air even more disgusting tales of Oakland’s finest.
As the Free Thought Project reported, on June 9, Chief Sean Whent resigned in the wake of a widening sexual misconduct scandal. He was replaced by Interim Chief Ben Fairow, who, after only six days on the job, was then forced to step down after Mayor Libby Schaaf said she had received information that made her question Fairow’s ability to lead.
As if the city and department didn’t look absurd enough after those two follies, Chief Paul Figueroa, who replaced Fairow, tenured his resignation three days later.
“I am deeply sorry for the harm that this scandal has caused, particularly to community trust, which for many was already so tenuous,” Schaaf said earlier this month.
The teen’s claim, filed Friday, implicates not just O’Brien and the officers accused of having sex with the teen, but also supervisors who “stood by with a blind eye” as the teen became a sex slave for the officers, her attorneys said, according to the Post.
“It’s hard to imagine a situation where this happens, where you bring in so many cops doing things of this nature and you don’t have some fundamental breakdown in the department,” the teen’s attorney, A. Cabral Bonner, told The Washington Post. “It’s a cultural thing.”
When asked about the $66 million, Bonner explained that it was $6 million for each Oakland officer who had sexual contact with the teen, while seeking less for the supervisors who stood by and watched as the abuse took place.
The officers and their superiors “either directly engaged in, stood by with a blind eye, or acted to cover up this modern-day slavery … in order to engage in sexual acts with her while she was a minor,” states the lawsuit.
On Monday, an Oakland police officer and a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy were formally charged with sex crimes stemming from this incident. Giovani LoVerde, 34, and Ricardo Perez, 28, were both charged with felony oral copulation with a minor and will be forced to register as sex offenders if convicted, according to court documents.
According to the LA Times, two other officers were formally charged with crimes linked to the scandal last week, and two more are expected to be charged, according to the district attorney’s office.
As if an underage sex trade scandal involving dozens of cops wasn’t enough to completely destroy the reputation of Oakland police, there is an entirely unrelated racism scandal investigation taking place simultaneously.
On top of the sex scandal and racist text probe, the Oakland police department has remained under federal oversight for the last 13 years due to rampant corruption exposed in 2003.
As the mayor jokes about running a ‘frat house,’ it appears that she is grossly off the mark in her analogy. This group of corrupt individuals running rampant throughout the city with guns and badges looks far less like a fraternity and more like a rapacious mafia.