MARTINEZ (KPIX 5) -- An East Bay California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos of a DUI suspect is speaking out, claiming that officers have stolen images for years.
Officer Sean Harrington of Martinez reportedly confessed to stealing explicit photos from the suspect's phone, and said he forwarded those images to at least two other CHP officers.
According to court documents obtained by the Contra Costa Times, Harrington told investigators this kind of image stealing has been going on for years in the state law enforcement agency, stretching all the way from Los Angeles to his own Dublin station.
Harrington called the photo stealing a "game" and said he had done the same thing to female arrestees a "half dozen times in the last several years."
Text messages obtained by the newspaper also show the kind of exchanges going on. In one exchange involving Harrington and another officer, Harrington said, "Just rerun a favor down the road buddy" with a smiley face.
Suspicions that the photos were stolen were first raised when the suspect said she synced her phone after her arrest and noticed when six photos were sent from her phone to another account.
"They're personal private photos she meant to keep private on her own cellphone and were not meant for anybody else's eyes," Richard Madsen, the victim's attorney told KPIX 5.
In a written statement to KPIX 5, CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow said, "The allegations anger and disgust me. We expect the highest levels of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol and there is no place in our organization for such behavior."
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