SAN FRANCISCO (CN) —The woman at the heart of the police sex abuse scandal that rocked Oakland, California, last year sued the neighboring city of Richmond, its current and former police chiefs and six other officers Thursday, accusing them of sexually trafficking her in exchange for police protection and information.
Although the federal complaint identifies the plaintiff as Jane Doe, her attorney John Burris confirmed in an interview that Doe is Jasmine Abuslin aka Celeste Guap, with whom Oakland settled similar allegations in May.
In the new lawsuit, Abuslin details her relationship with the Richmond Police Department, where she says it was an open secret that she was “available to them for sexual favors and pleasure in exchange for paid monies, protection, or other forms of consideration.” Abuslin, who worked as a child prostitute, describes her role there as an “exclusively department retained sex worker.”
Abuslin says current Police Chief Allwyn Brown, former Police Chief Chris Magnus, and Internal Affairs Division head Lt. Brian Dickerson knew what was happening but refused to adequately investigate or discipline their officers. Brown, Magnus and Dickerson are defendants in the case.
Abuslin claims that Richmond police investigated the misconduct only after the Oakland allegations became public. Eleven Richmond officers were identified for discipline. Of those 11, one officer was recommended for termination, one for demotion, two for suspensions of 80 hours and 120 hours, and five to receive letters of reprimand, according to the complaint.
“This is terribly outrageous,” Burris said in the interview. “They took advantage of a vulnerable young person. Girls like this are always suffering from some psychological deficit of some kind. Instead of acknowledging that and getting her help, they took advantage of her vulnerabilities. That’s the most negative and damning aspect of this.”
Allegations that a slew of officers from departments around the Bay Area had sex with the teenager came to light in September 2015 after an Oakland officer killed himself and left a suicide note implicating several other officers.
Abuslin, who went by the name Celeste Guap, filed a claim in 2016 against Oakland, the Oakland Police Department and several of its officers, seeking $66 million in damages. The city settled in June for nearly $1 million.
Abuslin also plans to sue the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, the Livermore Police Department, and possibly the San Francisco Police Department, according to Burris.
One officer named in the Richmond lawsuit, Terrance Jackson, befriended Abuslin when he was assigned to her high school as a resource officer, according to the complaint. Although he knew she was an underage sex worker and was legally obligated to help her, he neglected to do so. After Abuslin graduated, he allegedly came to her house while on duty and groped her.
Another officer, Armando Moreno, promised to help Abuslin escape prostitution after meeting her on Richmond’s 23rd Street, a sex trafficking hub, the complaint states. Instead, she says, Moreno began having sex with her in exchange for immunity from arrest and confidential police information.
On one occasion, Abuslin was detained and handcuffed while working on 23rd Street, but immediately released without being arrested or issued a citation. The incident occurred just after Moreno texted Abuslin to warn her of a prostitution sting in the area, according to the complaint.
Abuslin says she was afraid she would be arrested or prosecuted if she refused the sexual advances of the officers, who had their police badges and guns during their encounters.
She also accuses the officers of spiriting her away to Florida under the pretext of attending a drug treatment program, to prevent her from testifying against them after the Oakland allegations became public.
“It’s been very difficult for her,” Burris said of Abuslin’s life since the misconduct was revealed. “She has good days and bad days.”
Abuslin is suing Brown, Magnus and Dickerson for supervisory liability and failing to properly supervise and train their officers. She accuses the other five officers of sexually exploiting her in violation of her constitutional rights.
All eight officer defendants and the city of Richmond are accused of conspiring to obstruct justice through witness tampering, by sending Abuslin to Florida.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and the Richmond Police Department could not be reached for comment Thursday.