SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The teenager at the center of a California police sex scandal is now facing a reduced assault charge in Florida, where she has been jailed since her arrest late last month.
Martin County, Florida, prosecutors reduced a charge of biting a security guard at drug treatment center where she was living from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to court papers filed Monday. She no longer faces a lengthy prison term that could have derailed the criminal prosecution of at least seven current and former police officers in northern California.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Friday that she is awaiting the teen's return from Florida before charging the seven men with a range of crimes. O'Malley said the teen is a victim of sex crimes.
The Associated Press doesn't generally identify sex crime victims.
The teen, who turned 19 on Aug. 25, is the daughter of an Oakland Police Department dispatcher who says she has worked as prostitute for the last two years. She says she has had sexual encounters with about 30 officers, four of them when she was younger than 18.
O'Malley said she plans to charge two officers with felony oral copulation with a minor, which she says is equivalent to a statutory rape charge. Two other officers will be charged with prostitution, while three others will be charged with unauthorized accessing of a confidential criminal record database and failure to report a sex crime.
O'Malley said investigators uncovered evidence that the teen had sex with police officers in three other San Francisco Bay Area counties outside her jurisdiction. The teen has told The Associated Press that she told authorities she had sexual encounters with six Richmond police officers and other officers in other departments.
The prosecution of the officers can't begin until the teen returns from Florida, where she had gone to receive in-patient drug counseling on Aug. 26, O'Malley said. She was arrested three days later and originally charged with a felony. She remained in jail Monday, and her public defender Matthew Vasko in Florida declined comment.
O'Malley said she is unhappy the Richmond Police Department helped in enrolling the teen in an in-patient drug treatment center across the country. She demanded the department pay for her return to California as soon as she allowed to leave Florida. Richmond police helped the teen obtain money from a state crime victim fund to pay for the trip.
She was arrested Aug. 29, three days after arriving at Stuart, Florida, facility for allegedly biting a security guard at the center and was initially charged with a felony.