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Teen at center of Oakland police sex abuse scandal testifies

CBS News logo CBS News 5/19/2017 Crimesider Staff
Former Oakland Police Officer Brian Bunton sits outside an Alameda County courtroom prior to a preliminary hearing in an obstruction of justice and prostitution case that has roiled several Bay Area police departments: officer-bunton-opd-sex-scandal.jpg © CBS San Francisco officer-bunton-opd-sex-scandal.jpg

OAKLAND — The daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher described in court Thursday a series of encounters with a former police officer who a judge later said behaved "like a pimp" to the girl, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The woman, now 19, testified that she began having sexual encounters with police officers when she was just 12 years old.

"I was a prostitute," she said. "I accepted money, I accepted clothes, I accepted drugs."

Brian Bunton, a 41-year-old former Oakland police officer, is accused of felony obstruction of justice and misdemeanor prostitution in the case that roiled the department, reports CBS San Francisco. Another Oakland police officer, Brendan O'Brien, committed suicide in September 2015, leaving behind a note implicating other officers in the scandal, but it wasn't until May 2016 when the case became public. Ultimately, the case embroiled at least 30 Bay Area officers, and the woman has alleged police misconduct and sexual exploitation in lawsuits against the cities of Oakland, Richmond and other nearby towns, according to the East Bay Times

The woman, who CBS News is not identifying because she is the alleged victim of sex crimes, appeared nervous during her testimony, at one point vomiting.

"This is the first time she has come face to face with him in the courtroom and retell the story," her attorney told CBS San Francisco. "I imagine she has a lot of nerves and emotions that she is trying to deal with."

The woman said Bunton offered her tips about being a better prostitute and warned her about what an undercover investigation. 

She testified that she grew frustrated with Bunton after learning he was part of a "club" of cops who talked about their sex with her.

Bunton was the first officer to appear in court last September for being involved with the young woman, who investigators say was underage during her sexual encounters with some officers but had sex with Bunton after she was 18.

Defense attorney Dirk Manoukian attacked the woman's credibility, and said his client lied when he told her had access to a hotel room as part of undercover operation. Because the room wasn't part of an investigation, technically, no crime was committed, Manoukian. 

"There was no undercover, my client was trying to help her by telling her to stay off the street and out of the rain," said Manoukian.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Rogers ordered Bunton to stand trial on the charges, saying "he's actually pimping her like a pimp would," while summarizing the charges.

Bunton, who remains out of custody on bail, will return to court on June 5.

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