Seven officers to face charges in Oakland, Calif. police sex scandal

September 9, 2016 3:38 PM EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Seven current and former San Francisco Bay Area law enforcement officers will face charges in connection with a sex scandal that has rocked the Oakland Police Department, prosecutors said on Friday.

Three Oakland police chiefs resigned in quick succession in June, after news of the scandal involving a teenage sex worker and police officers emerged in local media.

Five former and current officers with the Oakland Police Department, one former Livermore police officer, and a Contra Costa Sheriff's officer stand accused of crimes ranging from oral copulation with a minor, engaging in prostitution, and unauthorized use of law enforcement databases, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said.

"Any person who engages in this type of behavior of sexual exploitation, or anyone particularly someone in authority ... will be held accountable if we have the evidence," O'Malley told the afternoon news conference.

O'Malley said evidence indicated two of the accused Oakland officers also had sexual contact with the teenager, but that conduct occurred in another county outside her jurisdiction. Several officers from other departments were implicated in the scandal, but outside her reach as a prosecutor, she added.

O'Malley said officers facing felonies could face as many as three years in state prison if convicted.

On Wednesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced she had moved to fire four police officers and suspend seven more in connection with the scandal.

In June, the East Bay Express newspaper reported that as many as 21 officers from the Oakland Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies had sex with a teenage sex worker, including some incidents while she was underage.

The newspaper based its report on interviews with the woman, elected officials, Oakland police sources and documents. Other media outlets have since published similar accounts.

(The story was refiled to correct throughout to indicate charges have not yet been formally filed and to say teen was exploited, not sex worker)

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; editing by James Dalgleish and David Gregorio)

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