PHOENIX (CN) - A Phoenix police officer had sex with a 17-year-old girl after they arranged for him to sneak into her house while her parents were gone, the girl's family claims in court.
The family sued Phoenix and its former police Officer Justin LaClere on Jan. 13 in Maricopa County Court.
They claim LaClere set up the sex via the telephone app Whisper, knowing full well that the girl was under age.
The girl, A.P., posted a photo of a baby with the text "I want to get pregnant but I'm only a teen" on Whisper on Jan. 13, 2014, the family says.
Whisper allows users to post photos anonymously with text written across them. Other users can respond.
LaClere, using the screen name "Jason69er," responded to A.P.'s post by saying: "You'd make a beautiful pregnant mommy heck maybe Id [sic] help ya," the lawsuit states.
LaClere told the girl he was 32.
"A.P. responded 'IDK [I don't know] Id be worried my dad would call the police and have you arrested for sleeping with a minor since Im [sic] not legal age to sleep with you.'" (Brackets in complaint.)
They exchanged more photos, including two of LaClere in his Phoenix Police Department uniform, according to the complaint.
The next day, Jan. 14, LaClere told A.P. that they should have sex that day after she went to school, the complaint states.
"When A.P. got home from school, she messaged LaClere and told him that her dad and sister had just left the house and that he could come over and have sex," the lawsuit claims.
LaClere showed up at the house and they had sex, the family says. A.P. says she was a virgin until then.
The parents learned of the incident on Jan. 16 and contacted the Scottsdale Police Department, who arrested LaClere on Jan. 17. He was charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation and sexual conduct with a minor, according to the lawsuit and to contemporary news reports. LaClere resigned.
The complaint states that "at least some, if not all, of the communication between LaClere and A.P. occurred while LaClere was working, on duty, as a Phoenix Police Officer."
The family claims the Phoenix Police Department knew that LaClere was dangerous, having received citizen complaints about him.
In one, "a woman claimed LaClere held her at gunpoint, dragged her from her car and slammed her against her vehicle during a car stop," the lawsuit states.
She sued the city and got a $25,000 settlement. Assistant Attorney Shannon Bell wrote that she had "not encountered an officer as difficult to work with" and that the city settled, in part, because the "jury would have hated him," according to the lawsuit and to news reports.
LaClere is slated for trial in April.
The family seeks punitive damages for due process violations, assault and battery, and negligence. They are represented by Joy Bertrand of Scottsdale.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.