The investigation of a California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from a female DUI suspect’s cell phone has led to the discovery that officers of the CHP’s Dublin station have been allegedly trading stolen photos of female suspects for “several years”.
Last week, it was reported by the Contra Costa Times that CHP officer Sean Harrington was accused by a 23-year-old unidentified female of stealing and forwarding photos from her iPhone in August while she was being booked into jail following a DUI arrest. The woman allegedly discovered that “explicit” photos from her iPhone had been forwarded to a phone number with a 707 area code. The woman then reportedly traced the phone number back to Harrington, her arresting officer.
On October 16th Harrington was served with a search warrant, which uncovered photos, text messages, and instant messages on Harrington’s iPhone and laptop that had been taken from the woman’s phone.
Harrington told investigators that he and other officers have been swapping stolen cell phone photos of arrested females for years and referred to the acts as a “game” among the Dublin officers, according to Inside Bay Area. Harrington allegedly confessed that he has taken photos from females in police custody “a half dozen times in the last several years,” court documents stated.
A search warrant affidavit from a Contra Costa District Attorney inspector revealed text messages between Harrington and two other CHP officers discussing the photos being stolen and shared between them. “Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!” Harrington texted to officers Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons on August 7th after forwarding photos of a 19-year-old DUI suspect.
On August 29th, Harrington forwarded an explicit photo of another DUI suspect to Hazelwood. “Nudes are always better with the face,” Hazelwood texted to Harrington. “Maybe she knows she has a jacked up horse face?!?!?” replied Harrington.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow released a statement late Friday responding to the allegations. “The allegations anger and disgust me. We expect the highest levels of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol, and there is no place in our organization for such behavior,” said Farrow. “We have active and open investigations and are cooperating with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. If the allegations are proven true, we will take appropriate action, up to and including dismissal and criminal prosecution.”
Harrington has since been assigned to other duties. The decision of whether or not to charge Harrington and the other officers is expected to be made this week.