The teenager had been selling herself for money since she was 12. She had been “exploited by pimps,” she says, and was in the act of running away from one when she met Brendan O’Brien, a police officer in Oakland, Calif.
But instead of helping the then-17-year-old prostitute, O’Brien and more than 30 other law enforcement officers “continued to traffic, rape, victimize and exploit a teenage girl who needed to be rescued,” according to a legal claim filed with the Oakland city attorney’s office. “Instead of helping [the teen] find a way out of exploitation, they furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade,” the claim adds.
Now 19, the teen is seeking $66 million in damages from the city, its police force, its former chief and multiple officers — the latest twist in an astonishing sex scandal that has swept up several police departments in the San Francisco Bay area.
The scandal led to the resignation of Oakland’s police chief, as well as the two people appointed to replace him, neither of whom lasted a week. It also led to other firings and suspensions, numerous criminal charges — and an apology from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“I am deeply sorry for the harm that this scandal has caused, particularly to community trust, which for many was already so tenuous,” Schaaf (D) said earlier this month.