Reports from the Contra Costa Times have a CHP officer in the San Francisco Bay Area confessing that nude photos were stolen from the cell phone of a suspected drunk driver while she was processed in a Martinez jail.
The officer, 35-year-old Sean Harrington, explained to prosecutors that sending copies of photos exposing arrestees was a common practice that he picked up at the CHP Los Angeles office. Harrington, a 5-year veteran, added that he had committed similar acts “a dozen times over the past several years.”
None of the officers have been charged in connection with the allegations at this time, but the Contra Costa Times sites the prosecution’s concern that the investigation would compromise any case where the officers might appear as witnesses. The DUI case that led to the theft allegations was ultimately dismissed.
Records of the photos being sent were deleted, but the iCloud account backing up the woman’s phone had stored the pictures. She was able to pull the photos off of her iPad device at a later time.
A second CHP officer was identified after an affidavit was sworn in by an investigator for the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office. Harrington had forwarded the nude photos to the unnamed officer under the name, Robert Hazlewood. The document notes messages between the two officers commenting on her “rocking body.”
Court documents also uncovered further evidence of descriptive texting between the two officers. Content included photos of the 19-year-old woman suspected of drunken driving being sent from Harrington to Hazelwood. A photo of the DUI suspect in a bikini was sent to Hazlewood who responded, “No [expletive] nudes?”
Harrington conclusively admitted to stealing six photos and sending one to Hazlewood. “The callousness and depravity with which these officers communicated about my client is dehumanizing, horribly offensive and degrading to all women,” said Rick Madsen, the attorney representing the unidentified woman. “It’s going to lead to another level of mistrust and skepticism to the motive of law enforcement in general.”
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow recently commented on the allegations stating, “This angers and disgusts me. We expect the highest levels of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol, and there’s no place in our organization for such behavior.”