A former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy was ordered to stand trial Thursday on three charges in connection with a sexual exploitation scandal linked to several Bay Area law enforcement agencies.
Ricardo Perez, 29, will stand trial on a felony charge of oral copulation with a minor and misdemeanor charges of engaging in lewd conduct in public.
The victim, Jasmine Abuslin, former referred to as Celeste Guap, worked as a prostitute and was only 17 at the time of an encounter with Perez in July 2015. She testified at the preliminary hearing today in Dublin.
Abuslin says it all began on Facebook where the two privately messaged each other naked photos of themselves. Then they met for sex 6 or 7 times before her 18th birthday.
"He's clearly a person who took advantage of a very young woman," said Abuslin's attorney, John Burris.
Abuslin admitted under cross-examination from Perez's attorney that she lied about her age, saying she was in her 20s, and told the former deputy that she was married with four children.
But Alameda County prosecutor Sabrina Farrell said during arguments at the end of the hearing that it was unreasonable for Perez to believe that, based on his interactions with her.
"His only focus was on what she could do for him sexually," Farrell said.
Abuslin testified that she told Perez the truth about her age after she turn 18. She also told him she was a prostitute and was having sex with other officers.
"I like a man in uniform" Abuslin said she texted him. But she said that didn't seem matter to Perez, who replied, "No wonder you're so good."
Perez, who remains free from jail on his own recognizance, will return to court on Aug. 10.
"If I was his lawyer, I'd find a way to plead guilty so I wouldn't continue to embarrass my family and friends," Burris said.
Perez is one of several law enforcement officers, including many from the Oakland Police Department, who have been charged in connection with the wide-raning sex abuse scandal.