A California Highway Patrol officer has been accused of stealing nude photographs of a woman he pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, and investigators recommend filing criminal charges against him.
Court documents obtained by the Contra Costa Times show that investigators have learned Sean Harrington, a 35-year-old CHP officer and five-year veteran of the force, illegally forwarded various nude photographs to himself after gaining access to the young woman’s phone. The investigator for the Contra Costa District Attorney is recommending that they bring felony computer theft charges against Harrington.
The incident began earlier this year on August 29, when Harrington pulled over a 23-year-old woman – who remains unidentified – for performing an illegal lane change. She ended up failing a sobriety test and registered a .29 percent blood-alcohol level, far higher than the legal limit of .08 percent.
The woman was taken to a county jail, but at some point told investigators that Harrington asked for the password to her phone, which she relayed. She reportedly asked the officer to get her a phone number from the device’s contact list, which he delivered by writing it down on a piece of paper. Using surveillance video at the jail, detectives were able to determine this exchange did happen and that Harrington was in possession of the phone when the nude photos were forwarded around 2:08 am.
“While a record of the forwarded photos was deleted from the woman’s Apple iPhone,” the Times wrote, “her iPad, which was synced to her phone via the iCloud service, revealed that the explicit photos in her ‘photos’ app were forwarded to an unknown phone number in the 707 area code while she was in police custody. The woman researched the number and learned it belonged to her arresting officer, according to the court records.”