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Cases Dropped Against California Cops Accused of Statutory Rape, Prostitution With Police Dispatcher's Daughter

Judge says Bay Area cops accused of sex crimes might not have known that Oakland teenager "Celeste Guap" was underage.

Oakland Police Department/FacebookOakland Police Department/Facebook"Celeste Guap," the daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher, says she was sexually exploited by local cops from a young age and had been paid for and/or extorted into sex with dozens of Bay Area officers by the time she turned 19. Oakland bungled the investigation into this activity, then shipped her off to drug rehab in Florida for a while; there she was jailed for getting in an altercation with a security officer before she made it back to the west coast to testify. But for a minute at least it looked like some of these men might be held accountable in criminal court.

Last week, however, Judge Jon Rolefson dismissed charges against former Contra Costa County Sheriff's Deputy Ricardo Perez and Alameda County prosecutors dropped their case against Oakland officer Giovanni LoVerde. LoVerde was charged with felony oral copulation with a minor. He is still employed with the Oakland Police Department (OPD).

Perez was charged with felony unlawful sex with a minor, felony oral copulation with a minor, and two misdemeanor counts of engaging in lewd conduct. But Rolefson decided there was insufficient evidence Perez knew that Guap was under age 18. Last month Rolefson also dropped the charges against former officer Brian Bunton, who was accused of paying Guap for sex once she was 18 and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Bunton, LoVerde, and Perez were three of only six officers criminally charged, though there was evidence implicating many more cops in Oakland and neighboring areas. "Some of the officers still work at OPD despite social media evidence they sexually exploited the girl or ignored signs of wrongdoing by fellow officers," notes the East Bay Express.

The OPD has fired four cops over allegations related to Guap. Twelve officers were disciplined in other ways, another committed suicide, and a longtime police chief was forced to resign.

Ultimately, only three men have been convicted: Oakland Sgt. Leroy Johnson, accused of knowing about what other Oakland cops were doing with Guap but not reporting it; Oakland Capt. Al Perrodin, accused of paying Guap for sex when she was 18; and Livermore cop Daniel Black, also accused of paying Guap for sex. The case against one more Oakland cop, accused of illegally using a police database, remains open.

Johnson pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to three years' probation. Perrodin pled guilty and was sentenced to five days' house arrest and two years' probation. Black pled no contest to one count of engaging in a lewd act, in a deal that saw three prostitution charges dropped and will allow his record to be wiped clean if he doesn't get arrested again in within 15 months.

Alameda County District Attorney Spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said prosecutors dropped the case against LoVerde because of its similarity to the Perez case, which Judge Rolefson had already rejected. But the county plans to appeal Rolefson's decision on Perez. She told the East Bay Times "there exists a conflict in the law interpreting the criminal statutes that govern the crimes charged, and we have determined that we will seek an appellate remedy."

Photo Credit: OPD/Facebook

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    As always, rules are for the ruled, not for the rulers.

  • BambiB||

    "But Rolefson decided there was insufficient evidence Perez knew that Guap was under age 18. "

    Since when has that ever been a defense to statutory rape? There have been cases where the minor produced government ID proving they were of legal age (fake ID, or mistaken ID) but the prosecutions went forward.

    And if you possess nude photos of someone under the age of 18 - knowingly or not - you can do hard time with big financial penalties.

    This is bullshit.

  • Cy||

    Quite the shit show. In this years 'most not surprising conclusion' the cops come out smelling like roses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Tanked on purpose?

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Of course. They probably drink with the prosecutor. Disgusting.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Johnson pled guilty to knowing about things for which the charges were dropped? Sucker.

  • sarcasmic||

    Does that mean I can use the "I swear I thought she was 18" excuse?

    Oh, wait. Innocent until proven guilty only applies to cops. Everyone else is guilty until a lawyer gets us off. And even then we're still guilty.

  • Cy||

    Cops get the much more lucrative government application of "innocent even after proven guilty."

  • sarcasmic||

    All political systems are feudal. Only the costumes and languages change. And the toys. But otherwise they are all the same. A set of rules for those who do whatever they want (which are rarely applied), and a set of rules for those of us who are subject to their rule.

  • Tony||

    Which is why you advocate for fewer rules and less accountability as a political philosophy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Those who enforce the rules will never be held accountable because they police themselves. The more rules that they enforce, the greater the opportunity there is for them to abuse their power. So yes, I advocate for a philosophy with fewer rules enforced with violence. That doesn't mean fewer rules. People follow all kinds of rules that aren't enforced with violence. Like cutting into the line at the grocery store, or not sitting at a chair in a cafeteria that has someone's jacket on it.
    Rules enforced with violence require people who use violence without accountability.

  • sarcasmic||

    Reminds me of this.

  • sarcasmic||

    You love rules, but you hate cops. Seems a bit contradictory to me.

  • BYODB||

    This can not be said often enough to those who wish for the state to be omnipresent and omnipotent.

    Inevitably, rules made by the state (even minor ones) can become a death sentence at the drop of a hat. The worst thing are rules designed to generate revenue that end up putting people in prison or, worse, shot. (I.E. 'Selling loosies' without a tax stamp down at the local 7-11)

  • Eman||

    No, that's why he thinks we need these people telling us what's fake news

  • Dan S.||

    It truly sucks that these cops will get away with abusing this girl. But if the case helps establish that a reasonable, good-faith belief that someone was over the age of consent is a valid defense to a charge like statutory rape, perhaps that is a silver lining.

  • Bill||

    The ones that got charged were the ones that paid her. The ones that gave nothing
    in value but still abused her got off. Hmmm.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Must be Friday.

  • Brian||

    I will file this under "things I could never get away with."

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    You know what else is in that thicc file?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Law Enforcement: The scum that scum scrape off their shoes.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Hmmm...I remember specifically being told (no, it was curiosity not necessity which led to the question) that "I swear I thought she was 18" was *not* a defense in California.

    Can anyone elucidate?

  • sarcasmic||

    If you have been given the Public Trust, then you cannot tell a lie. Therefore if you are a police officer and you swear you didn't know she was underage, then she wasn't underage. Even if she was underage, she wasn't underage because a police officer said so. She went from 15 to 18, stayed at 18 for three years, then moved onto 19. Because the cops said she was 18. It's magic.

  • Aloysious||

    It's magic.

    Magic is amazing. Is there nothing it can't do?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Fix a broken heart.

    :(

  • Aloysious||

    True.

    You have made me very sad.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The only cure for a broken heart is to use your police power to coerce a teenage girl into performing sexual favors for you and a select few of your buddies.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Police Penis' Matter.

  • Eman||

    Blue balls matter too

  • ||

    Magic is amazing. Is there nothing it can't do?

    Cure HIV.

  • BYODB||

    I don't know, isn't Magic Johnson still alive?

  • Cy||

    "Magic is amazing. Is there nothing it can't do?"

    Create a libertarian state?

  • Cloudbuster||

    Put a crooked cop in jail, apparently.

  • Darr247||

    Ooooooooh. The "nixon defense" (when the president does it, it's not illegal).

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    If you honestly and reasonably believed that the alleged victim was over 18 at the time you had sex, you can't be convicted under California statutory rape law. This legal defense is a more specific version of the general legal defense of mistake of fact.

    The types of evidence that can support this defense could include, for example: statements made by the alleged victim that he/she was over the age of 18, his/her attire and general appearance, and where you met the alleged victim (at an adult party or venue, for example).

    So yes, "I swear I thought she was 18" is not a defense unless you can establish an "honest and reasonable" basis for that belief. The mere fact that the minor says she is over 18 (or even had ID that proved to be false) would not be enough (the law involving minors usually involves protecting them from themselves).

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    This is why you never ask her age.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    My God.

  • Lily Bulero||

    I only ask them if they've under 18 if they obviously aren't. But they're so flattered.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    But Doc, she was fifteen years old, going on thirty-five, Doc, and, uh, she told me she was eighteen and she was, uh, very willing, you know what I mean...I practically had to take to sewin' my pants shut. But, uh between you and me, uh, she might have been fifteen, but when you get that little red beaver right up there in front of ya, I don't think it's crazy at all now and I don't think you do either...No man alive could resist that, and that's why I got into jail to begin with. And now they're telling me I'm crazy over here because I don't sit there like a goddamn vegetable. Don't make a bit of sense to me. If that's what's bein' crazy is, then I'm senseless, out of it, gone-down-the-road, wacko. But no more, no less, that's it.

  • Number 7||

    +1 MacMurphy

  • Timrekgrun||

    A nice case of "mens rea" for us but not for you.

  • Eman||

    I don't know how I feel about mens rea. Obviously I'm for less people being in jail, but the idea that motive is at least objective enough to have any legal significance a big part of what I (and, i would assume, a lot of folks round these parts)/dislike about the whole idea of hate crimes. And I really don't see a way that a jury is supposed to figure out what someone's motivation was a few months ago beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Here's a question to the people who have a much needed for the way courts work, doesn't this set precedence?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Here's a question to the people who have a much needed mind for the way courts work, doesn't this set precedence?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    No. Precedent is set by appellate and Supreme Court opinions. One might take it as a guide to what a given judge is likely to do, but what one trial judge does (or does not do) is not binding as precedent on any other trial judge

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    So given that this case was dismissed, does the girl have the option to appeal?

  • Lily Bulero||

    Appeal an acquittal? I don't think that's allowed. You're thinking Canada.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Not an acquittal, a dismissal.

  • Lily Bulero||

    OK, but I think there may be double-jeopardy problems with reviving a dismissed prosecution.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    but I think

    Given the number of lawyers that infest this site, I'd like to know if anyone actually knows the answer. That Curmudgeon dude seems to know what's up.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Never mind, I actually got a second to look it up. If she appeals the dismissal then the appellate court only needs to decide if it should have been dismissed. So they could potentially force the lower court to actually hear the case.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Well, my naive reaction is to yell "double jeopardy!" but these are trained judges with expertise coming out of their butts, so if they say it's OK, then I guess it is.

  • Lily Bulero||

    (that was a bit of sarcasm)

  • LarryWilson||

    Long past are the days when it was respectable to be a cop in America.

    My public safety friends will attest that letting your child join a Police Explorer group is almost guaranteed to ensure they will be exploited at the end of a cop's penis.

  • Cy||

    "Police Explorer group"

    I didn't know these were a thing. I'll add it to the list of things I'll try hard to steer my kids away from.

    Who would let their minor hang out with a bunch of armed, armored, under educated, law breaking, predators intentionally? This case is another prime example of "who enforces on the enforcers."

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Explorers is a senior branch of the Boy Scouts. It is more occupation based and, brace yourself, has been coed for decades.

  • Bill||

    Don't let the 67% of the cops that are shit-bags ruin it for the
    other 33%.

  • Libertarian||

    She is a dispatcher's daughter. I wonder if, during the next L.A. riot, cops will be told that "everything is fine but go to this address because there is a cat caught in a tree."

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The cop response to a cat in a tree is probably the same as the cop response to a dog in a yard or a black man selling loosies. Better to go with "free donuts" or "prostitutes."

  • Lily Bulero||

    A combined donut shop and brothel?

    "Girls, quit bothering me, I'm trying to [munch munch] eat."

  • Rich||

    Rolefson decided there was insufficient evidence Perez knew that Guap was under age 18.

    "Don't ask, don't tell."

  • BlueStarDragon||

    So are any these cops going on the sex registry like the 19 year old women at the time of having sex with a 14 year old ?

  • CE||

    How is this not human trafficking?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Because cops.

  • IceTrey||

    Thank god I live in a state where the age of consent is 16.

  • Darr247||

    Hear, hear.

    Subway Jared wouldn't have been busted there, either... the girls that "pedophile" was convicted of having sex with were 17, in a state where the statuary age is 18!

    In MS (if I recall correctly), the age is 14 as long as the other person isn't more than 4 years older.

  • Darr247||

    Ugh... *statutory.

    Why is there no Edit button?

  • Darr247||

    Ugh... *statutory.

    Why is there no Edit button?

  • Darr247||

    Or a Delete button, for that matter.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah, the Great Statue Purge of 1999 and subsequent moratorium on statue erection has frozen the statuary age at 18. Of course that will change next year.

  • macsnafu||

    Since when have courts accepted the "I didn't know she was underage" excuse, anyway? Either it's a legitimate defense for everybody (when proven), or for nobody.

    And shouldn't the police be held to a *higher* standard than the rest of us? Since they're supposed to enforce the law?

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