SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The teenager at the center of a northern California police sex scandal was released Wednesday from a Florida jail after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge.
The teen, who turned 19 on Aug. 25, says she had sex with 30 officers in seven law enforcement agencies over the last two years. She said she had sex with four officers before she turned 18.
She appeared outside the Martin County, Florida, jail with her father and two California attorneys Wednesday, who say they are planning to file a lawsuit against the officers who allegedly abused her and their departments. She declined comment.
"We intend to hold everyone accountable," Oakland lawyer Pamela Price said during a small news conference outside the jail.
The Associated Press generally doesn't identify sex crimes victims.
The teen was arrested Aug. 29, three days after checking into a Stuart, Florida, addiction treatment center. She admitted biting a security guard during a scuffle with center staff and agreed to write a letter of apology as part of her plea.
The Richmond Police Department helped arrange for her trip and enrollment in the addiction treatment center, all of which was paid for by a state crime victim's fund. The teen's lawyers and others have questioned the department's motives for arranging for a victim who is the key witness in a wide-ranging police scandal to be sent across the country for counseling.
"There is no reason or rhyme why she is in Stuart, Florida," Price said. "She is not a drug addict. She is a child victim of human trafficking."
Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown has not responded to numerous requests for comments. He said in a public statement Monday that the department was trying to help the teen.
"Representations that we 'sent' this teenage witness away or had her 'removed' to Florida distorts reality," Brown said. "The teenager, in consult with her family, made a choice to seek in-patient treatment."
The teen's lawyers say she will return to California soon.
Her release from jail and return to California clears the way for the Alameda County district attorney to charge seven current and former officers implicated in the scandal. The district attorney said she wouldn't formally file charges until the 19-year-old woman was able to return to California and testify against the officers if necessary.
District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said two officers will be charged with sex with a minor. Two others will be charged with prostitution and three will be charged with unauthorized access of a police computer system and failure to report sex abuse.
O'Malley said investigators found evidence the teen had sexual encounters with officers in three counties outside her jurisdiction of Alameda County across the San Francisco Bay from San Francisco. Authorities in San Francisco, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties have not said whether they plan criminal charges or are investigating.