From: San Francisco Chronicle
By Henry Lee 1/27/15
A former California Highway Patrol officer based in Dublin apologized Tuesday after being sentenced to probation for stealing racy photos from the cell phones of two women he came across while on patrol and sharing them with colleagues.
Sean Harrington, 35, pleaded no contest in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez to two felony counts of theft and copying computer data belonging to the women.
Judge Terri Mockler, quoting from social activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton while pronouncing the sentence, said, “Women’s degradation is in man’s idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man.”
Mockler gave Harrington six months in jail but suspended the sentence, provided that he attend a 27-hour violence prevention training program and obey all laws while on three years of probation. She ordered him to stay away from the victims and not disclose their names.
The judge said she had thought carefully about the sentence, taking into consideration Harrington’s lack of a criminal record and that fact that he had resigned from the CHP. She said she hoped Harrington would “contemplate and hopefully learn and educate others about how this type of conduct affects the people who were affected.”
Outside court, Harrington, a Martinez resident, read a statement in which he took responsibility for his actions and apologized to his family and friends as well as “officers everywhere and especially to the two women involved.”
“This has cost me a career in the CHP, a career that I loved and was good at and a career that made my family and friends proud of me,” said Harrington, who was accompanied by his wife, Christina.
“My actions have caused that sense of pride to be eroded and replaced it with embarrassment,” he said. “I can only hope that with time, I can work to prove myself and rebuild that sense of pride again. I’m trying to put his behind me and move forward from this, and I hope now everyone else can, too.”
Asked if any more women were involved, Harrington said, “Just these two cases.”
Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove and Rick Madsen, an attorney representing one of the women, said they believed the sentence was fair.
Madsen, though, said, “Quite frankly, there is no sentence that can ultimately undo the damage that has been inflicted. Both of these women will live with the uncertainty of public disclosure, ridicule and embarrassment.”
Grove said the sentence was “very thoughtful, very reasoned. He didn’t get a break from jail. He actually got a much stiffer sentence because he was a police officer when he committed this crime.”
Harrington’s attorney, Michael Rains, said the felony counts could be reduced at a later date to misdemeanors. Rains acknowledged that his client had told investigators that there may have been “two to three other instances” in which he took pictures of other women, but that he erased them from his phone afterward.
Specifics of thefts
According to authorities, Harrington stole a 19-year-old woman’s bikini photos as she underwent X-rays after being involved in a suspected DUI crash in Livermore on Aug. 7.
“Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she’s in X-rays,” Harrington allegedly texted fellow Dublin CHP Officer Robert Hazelwood. In police parlance, “10-15x” refers to a female arrestee.
Hazelwood in turn responded, “No f— nudes?” senior district attorney’s office inspector Darryl Holcombe wrote in a search warrant affidavit.
Then, on Aug. 29, Harrington secretly forwarded at least five photos that belonged to Madsen’s client, a 23-year-old woman he had arrested on suspicion of DUI in San Ramon, authorities said.
That woman found out what happened when she looked at her iPad, which was synced to her iPhone, authorities said.