The 19-year-old woman who claimed she had sex with over a dozen Oakland police officers in a sex abuse scandal has settled her claim against the city for almost $1 million, her lawyer and the Oakland City Council announced Wednesday, May 31.
The woman, who asked to be identified only as Jasmine, made the accusations last year, sparking a scandal that ripped through the Oakland Police Department and the Bay Area’s law enforcement community, The Los Angeles Times reported. Jasmine claimed she was exploited and sexually abused by more than 12 officers, as some of the encounters took place while she was still underage. She said some of the cops would give her information about planned police raids and stings in exchange for sex.
Jasmine came forward with the allegations in September 2015 after an Oakland officer committed suicide after she threatened to expose him. In his suicide note, the cop alluded to having a sexual relationship with a young sex worker.
A series of investigations into the claims were launched last summer and have resulted in criminal charges against seven Bay Area law enforcement officers, the resignation of police chief Sean Whent and punishment of several other Oakland police officers, according to the newspaper. Investigators with the Alameda County DA’s office, as well as the Richmond Police Department, also were terminated amid the sex scandal.
The Oakland City Council voted 7-to-1 to approve Jasmine’s settlement around 2 a.m. Wednesday, agreeing to settle her claim for $989,000.
“I feel happy that I can close this chapter and move on with my life,” the young woman said at a news conference that afternoon.
In a statement, Jasmine’s attorney, John Burris said, “The settlement occurred with no admission of liability. But, obviously, if you pay $1 million, you figure you’ve got some responsibility.”
Though no formal lawsuit was ever filed, Burris said an original claim of $66 million was filed with the city last year when the young woman was being represented by a different attorney, The Los Angeles Times reported. The civil rights lawyer said he’s considering bringing claims against officers in the San Francisco, Livermore and Richmond police departments, as well as the Alameda and Contra Costa county sheriff’s departments. The young woman claimed to have been exploited by officers at these agencies as well.
“People were passing her around as if she was a kickball or something,” Burris said, adding that the officers had taken advantage of Jasmine.
Local station ABC 7 reported that five Oakland officers allegedly involved with the young woman are facing criminal charges, along with a former Contra Costa County deputy. Two of them have since been charged with having oral sexual relations with Jasmine while she was underage, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Councilman Noel Gallo, who represents the neighborhood where Jasmine’s encounters with the police began, pushed for the young woman to receive a larger settlement but said she hoped the $989,000 would be the first step in her journey to healing. Jasmine has since taken part in anti-sex trafficking initiatives and plans to go back to school.
“I admire her for where she is today, and certainly all the attention is challenging,” Gallo said. “But she’s looking for direction and that’s what we’re trying to provide her.”