CHP Officer Charged With Stealing Photos From Suspects Surrenders

A California Highway Patrol officer facing felony charges for allegedly stealing explicit photos from the phones of women he arrested self-surrendered on Monday to authorities.

Dublin-based CHP Officer Sean Harrington, 35, did not say anything to the media waiting for him outside the Martinez jail. NBC Bay Area cameras from inside the jail lobby showed Harrington filling out paperwork at a window.

After posting bail, Harrington made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. His arraignment was postponed until Nov. 14 after his attorney Michael Rains requested time to review the evidence in the case.

Rains said his client is "very sad about what his own conduct hascost him and his family but he acknowledges his mistakes and he's going totry to move on with his life."

On Friday, Harrington, who has since resigned from the CHP, was charged with two counts of computer data theft. He sent the pictures of young women he had arrested in various states of undress to at least two fellow officers as part of what he called a “game,” according to court documents.

Contra Costa deputy district attorney Barry Grove said Friday the two counts stem from two separate incidents that took place in August. "Obviously, something harmful was done,” Grove said. “This was an extreme invasion of privacy to these young women.”

Rains, who is a high-profile Bay Area lawyer who often represents police officers, acknowledged his client's behavior is "not defensible." He added in an interview last week: "It is impulsive, immature and inappropriate in every sense of the word." Rains said Harrington has admitted he stole explicit photos from the phones of up to half a dozen arrestees.

Grove said he is not charging two officers in the Dublin office who received the pictures from Harrington.  Attorney Rick Madsen said he disagrees with the decision to leave them out. He said they knowingly and voluntarily received the images, which Madsen said he considered a criminal act.

Search warrant documents detail text messages sent between them: "Her body is rocking," states one. Another reads: “Taken from the phone of my 10-15x while she's in X-rays. Enjoy buddy!!!”

Madsen, who represents the alleged 23-year-old victim who first brought the claim to light, said he doesn’t buy it. “He's sorry he got caught," he said last week.

Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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