The Calif. Cop Who Stole Nude Photos From Arrestees Won’t Face Jail Time

Robert Pursell Contributor
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A former California Highway Patrol officer has avoided jail time after pleading no contest to stealing and disseminating nude photos off the cell phones of DUI suspects he had arrested.

The incident has attracted more bad press for the CHP, a police division that made headlines in July of last year when video of a uniformed CHP officer beating 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock on the side of the highway went viral.

35-year-old Sean Harrington of Martinez, CA was facing up to three years and eight months in jail if convicted on two felony counts of secretly copying and disseminating explicit photos of the female DUI suspects.

After pleading no contest, the former officer was sentenced to three years of formal probation and a 180-day suspended jail sentence, meaning he will avoid jail time. He was also ordered by the judge to speak at a community violence class.

In the two incidents, Harrington sent racy photos to both his own phone and the phones of his colleagues directly from the cell phones of young women arrested on suspicion of DUI charges. In one case, Harrington stole scantily clad photos of a 19-year-old involved in a suspected DUI crash while the suspect was undergoing X-rays to evaluate her injuries.

“Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!,” Harrington allegedly texted fellow CHP officer Robert Hazelwood, “10-15x” being officer parlance for a female arrestee. According to the district attorney’s office, Hazelwood in turn responded to Harrington saying, ““No f— nudes?”

While Harrington pled no contest to only two incidents, prosecutors said that he admitted to stealing photos four to six times over the past six years.

Reactions to Harrington’s sentence were mixed. Attorney Rick Madsen, who represented one of the victims in the case, labeled only as Jane Doe 1, was annoyed that Harrington avoided jail time.

“There’s no sentence that can ultimately undue the damage done to Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2,” Madsen said outside the court, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “Both victims will live with the uncertainty of public disclosure and ridicule and embarrassment.”

The district attorney disagreed with that assessment: “[Harrington] didn’t get a break from jail,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “He actually got a much stiffer sentence because he was a police officer when he committed this crime.”

None of the officers who received the images from Harrington have been charged with any crime.