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California Police Department Gets Third Police Chief In One Week

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Casey Harper Contributor

The Oakland Police Department has lost two police chiefs in less than a week as an underage sex scandal plagues the department.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Wednesday she had fired the city’s interim police chief less than a week after appointing him. The firing bodes poorly for any hope that the department will soon recover from the scandal.

Schaaf said she learned new information that made her “lose confidence in Ben Fairow’s ability to lead the Oakland Police Department at this particular moment.” The East Bay Times reports that Fairow’s dismissal may be related to an affair he had a decade ago, but Schaaf would not elaborate on the reasoning behind the firing. Schaaf did admit that she did not vet Fairow well enough.

Fairow left the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police (BART) to take the job as interim chief. BART Chief Kenton Rainey told SFGate that “Ben has shared information with me that, while he was married, he had a personal relationship with a consenting adult more than a decade ago,” apparently linking that information with the dismissal as interim chief. Rainey went on to welcome Fairow back and say the affair would not jeopardize his job with BART.

The Oakland Police Department sex scandal erupted when one officer, Brendan O’Brien, committed suicide in September. He left a note exposing a local prostitute’s sexual relationship with certain cops in the department. Since then, the scope of the scandal has grown to include two dozen officers at several departments. Newly implicated departments are investigating the allegations.

The Richmond woman, who is going by the name “Celeste Guap” to protect her identity, told The East Bay Times that she slept with three officers before she turned 18. She said cops protected Guap and tipped her off to prostitution stings. She said she didn’t accept money for sex with the cops but did sleep with a retired Oakland police captain for money. In total, she says she slept with two dozen current and former cops from five different departments.

Guap said many cops knew she was underage. She said they called her “juve,” short for juvenile. Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations of sex with a minor.

“I think cops are fine,” she told The East Bay Times. “They’re cute and all, but it’s like one less officer that’s gonna arrest me.”

Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent resigned last week citing personal reasons, but The East Bay Times alleges he was pushed out for mishandling the scandal. Five officers in the department have been put on leave and two have resigned. The departments with accused officers include Richmond, Stockton, Livermore, Oakland, and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

“We continue to be disgusted and outraged by the idea that anyone could abuse an underage victim of sexual exploitation – particularly those who have sworn to uphold the law and protect our communities; we are sickened to think anyone could even know of such abuse and not bring that information forward,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “Our highest priority is to hold those responsible for wrongdoing fully accountable and remove them from positions where they are offending the public trust.”

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