Ex-deputy pleads not guilty in sex scandal case

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HAYWARD (KTVU) -- A former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty today to criminal charges connected to a widespread police sex exploitation scandal.

Ricardo Perez, who resigned from the sheriff's office, entered his plea at the Hayward Hall of Justice. A judge allowed him to be released on his own recognizance.

Perez is charged with having oral sex with a self-described sex worker when she was 17.

The now-19-year-old woman, who now goes by her legal name of Jasmine Abuslin, told investigators that Perez had sex with her 10 times in his car parked near Fish Ranch Road in the Oakland hills.

Perez was also charged with engaging in lewd conduct in public.

A second defendant, Oakland police officer Giovanni LoVerde is accused of having oral sex with a minor. He was due in court today but had his case continued due to an attorney scheduling conflict.

Authorities say LoVerde first met the alleged victim oline while she was underage. On social media at the time, she was known as Celeste Guap and was a self-described sex worker.

In July 2015, when she was 17, LoVerde allegedly met her in an apartment entryway near Lake Merritt in Oakland. Police say the two engaged in a sex act in a place that was accessible to the public.

Loverde told investigators he never met her in person.

Loverde graduated from the Oakland Police Academy in 2014. He received an academic achievement award from then-Police Chief Sean Whent. Whent resigned over his handling of the sex exploitation scandal.

Also today, the city of Richmond said it's received a $30 million claim from Abuslin's attorneys alleging improper conduct by officers. Nine Richmond officers are facing internal discipline. None however, have been criminally charged. Abuslin has also filed a $66 million claim against the city of Oakland.

Similar claims have been filed against San Francisco, Livermore and Alameda County, according to her attorney Pamela Price.

These claims are precursors to lawsuits. LoVerde and Perez are among seven law officers facing criminal charges in Alameda County. The Contra Costa County DA's office says its investigation is ongoing.

By KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee