OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The city of Oakland, California, will pay a teenager nearly $1 million to settle claims that city police officers sexually abused her while she worked as an underage prostitute — a settlement that comes as she pursues similar cases against five other San Francisco Bay Area law enforcement agencies.
Saying she was relieved with the settlement announced Wednesday, the woman said she appreciates the support she received from family and friends once she came forward last summer.
“I thought I was alone,” said the woman, who is now 19.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify sexual crime victims and is withholding the name of the woman even though it has been widely used in the media.
She appeared nervous and gave short and terse answers during a news conference Wednesday in her lawyer’s Oakland office. She said she was “very satisfied” with the settlement.
Her mother is a dispatcher with the Oakland Police Department. Neither of her parents, who are divorced, attended the news conference.
The scandal emerged last summer when a federal judge overseeing the troubled Oakland Police Department said he was dissatisfied with the internal affairs investigation of an officer who committed suicide in 2015.
The teen said the officer was among those who abused her over a nearly three-year period. Most of the implicated officers worked in Oakland.
The Oakland City Council voted 7-1 to pay $989,000 to settle the claims against the city. Councilwoman Desley Brooks voted against the settlement, saying the city should have paid more.
“Think about this young girl, who was victimized under the color of authority,” Brooks said. “There is something wrong with this.”
Mayor Libby Schaaf said she approved of the deal.
“It was in the best interest of the city to settle this matter quickly and fairly,” Schaaf said. “We remain focused on rebuilding the public trust that was so damaged by this incident.”
Officials with the department didn’t respond to phone and email inquiries.
Earlier this month, the teen threw up into a waste paper basket while testifying during a preliminary hearing for former Oakland police Officer Dan Bunton, who was ordered to stand trial on charges of solicitation and obstruction of justice.
He pleaded not guilty after being accused of tipping off the teen to a prostitution sting.
The woman’s lawyer, John Burris, said she has similar legal claims pending against police departments in San Francisco, Richmond and Livermore, and the sheriff’s offices of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
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