VALLEJO (AP) — A controversy over California Highway Patrol officers suspected of secretly sharing explicit photos of women placed under arrest is isolated to one Northern California office, authorities said Saturday.
Publicly addressing the case, Chief Avery Browne of the CHP’s Golden Gate Division thanked a 23-year-old woman who reported that photos had been sent from her phone while she was in custody on suspicion of drunken driving, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Browne said that the allegations are “disappointing” and “disgusting.”
According to investigators for the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Officer Sean Harrington confessed to sending nude or racy photos taken from the phones of women under arrest and then sent them to colleagues in what he called a game.
According to court papers obtained by the newspaper, Harrington said he learned to do this while working in Los Angeles and told investigators he had done it about six times over several years. Yet, Browne told the newspaper that this case appears isolated to an East Bay CHP office.
“There’s not truth that it stretches from Los Angeles to Dublin,” he said.
One officer has been barred from work, and a second pulled from patrol duties, with a third officer is considered a witness, the newspaper reported.
Browne said a similar incident happened in the Los Angeles area in 2012. In that case, he said, one officer was fired and a second quit amid the investigation.
Prosecutors in Contra Costa County have said that they intend to decide this week whether they will file criminal charges.
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Harrington for comment have been unsuccessful.