RICHMOND (KTVU) -- An Oakland police officer pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of improper conduct with a woman at the center of a Bay Area law enforcement sex exploitation scandal, just hours after officials announced that nine Richmond cops would face internal disciplinary action for their ties to the woman.
Officer Brian Bunton has been accused of receiving a sex act in exchange for warning the teen about a police sting. His lawyer said Bunton has expressed remorse for the decisions he has made.
Also on Friday, Richmond city officials said they would levy their own punishment for nine cops who were also caught up in the scandal.
One Richmond officer is facing termination, another faces demotion, two face suspension and five others are due to receive letters of reprimand, said Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown.
"I am sorry that the misconduct of these individuals has brought embarrassment to the City of Richmond and the Richmond Police Department," the chief said in a statement. "Police officers must be held to a higher standard with regard to their personal and professional conduct because their effectiveness in serving the community depends on the public’s trust."
The chief did not release the names of the officers who face administrative discipline. Each can fight the proposed sanctions.
The nine Richmond officers were among about a dozen who were under internal investigation for their alleged interactions with a woman named Jasmine Abuslin.
She was a self-described sex worker formerly known as Celeste Guap. She is now 19 but has said she had sex with dozens of Bay Area police officers, some while she was underage.
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But Richmond police have said that none of their officers had been involved with Abuslin while she was a minor.
The department has been criticized for helping facilitate Abuslin's ill-fated trip to rehab in Florida. A Richmond police sergeant drove Abuslin to San Francisco International Airport on Aug. 26, a day after she turned 19. But on Aug. 29, she was arrested for biting a worker at the rehab in Stuart, Fla. She later pleaded no contest and has since returned to California, where she is staying at an undisclosed location.
Brown's announcement comes on the same day that Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton is to appear in a Hayward courtroom on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and engaging in prostitution.
Alameda County prosecutors say Bunton warned Abuslin in a text message about an upcoming undercover police prostitution sting along International Boulevard in East Oakland. In return, Bunton allegedly received a sex act from Abuslin as compensation.