A former California Highway Patrol officer who secretly sent himself nude pictures taken from the phones of women arrested for DUI will not be going to jail.
The officer, Sean Harrington, pleaded no contest this week on two felony charges of unauthorized access to a computer and copying computer data. The plea deal he arranged will put him on three years probation, rather than facing up to three years and eight months in prison, had he taken the cases to trial, reported NBC Bay Area.
None of the officers with whom Harrington shared the photos will face any charges, the station reported. The women's DUI charges have been dropped.
"I apologize to my family, my wife, my friends. I apologize to officers everywhere and especially to the two women involved. I'm trying to put this behind me and move forward from this. I hope now that everyone else can too," Harrington read.
There are potentially more women out there who had the same thing happen to them. Here are some more details of the case:
[P]rosecutors said he admitted during interviews to stealing photos from women's phones four to six times during the last few years and forwarding them to colleagues.
The case, first reported by the Contra Costa Times, was blown open in October 2014, after a 23-year-old San Ramon woman said half a dozen nude and semi-nude selfies had been secretly sent from her phone to an unknown number traced to Harrington.
Harrington had forwarded the messages from his phone while the woman was in county jail after a DUI arrest in San Ramon in the early hours of Aug. 29, investigators found, after they obtained search warrants for him.
Further investigation revealed that Harrington had previously stolen private photos from the phone of a 19-year-old DUI suspect arrested in Livermore on Aug. 6 while she was in the hospital and forwarded them to his own.
Despite the seemingly light sentence for the intrusion of personal privacy and data, Harrington's defense lawyer claimed that the sentence was actually harsher than it would have been for a citizen.
"I think if this would have been a case where it was not a police officer but some other citizen who didn't have a criminal record, it would have been a misdemeanor case," attorney Michael Rains said of the felony offenses that Harrington was facing.
In addition to the three years’ probation time, Harrington will also have to speak at a community violence solutions class to tell everyone what he did.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.