$4M set­tle­ment reached for ex­plor­ers mo­lested by Cal­i­for­nia of­fi­cer

Porterville Recorder - - STATE -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Three girls mo­lested by a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia po­lice of­fi­cer while par­tic­i­pat­ing in a po­lice ex­plorer pro­gram reached a $4 mil­lion set­tle­ment in a civil law­suit, an at­tor­ney said Wed­nes­day.

An­thony Demarco said his law of­fice agreed to a deal with the Ir­win­dale Po­lice De­part­ment and Learn­ing for Life, the group that runs the pro­gram.

It comes a year af­ter a pre­vi­ous set­tle­ment to­tal­ing $2.75 mil­lion in­volv­ing an­other vic­tim of Of­fi­cer Daniel Cam­er­ano, who su­per­vised young­sters in the ex­plor­ers pro­gram.

Cam­er­ano pleaded no con­test in 2014 to a series of sex crimes in­volv­ing un­der­age girls in Ir­win­dale, east of Los An­ge­les. He was sen­tenced to more than two years in prison.

The abuse oc­curred be­tween 2007 and 2010, when the girls were be­tween 14 and 17.

The Ir­win­dale Po­lice De­part­ment and Learn­ing for Life didn't im­me­di­ately re­spond to com­ment re­quests.

This week's set­tle­ment is one of the largest in the na­tion of a sex­ual abuse case in­volv­ing po­lice ex­plor­ers, Demarco said.

The girls were sex­u­ally as­saulted in a po­lice sta­tion and while rid­ing along with Cam­er­ano.

The vic­tims joined the ex­plorer pro­gram be­cause they dreamed of work­ing as po­lice of­fi­cers, Demarco said.

"Those dreams were de­railed be­cause of the de­praved acts of for­mer Of­fi­cer Cam­er­ano and of the com­plic­ity of other mem­bers of the Ir­win­dale Po­lice De­part­ment," he said. "Yet they came for­ward hop­ing to make Ex­plorer pro­grams safer for other girls seek­ing ca­reers in law en­force­ment."

Last month au­thor­i­ties in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia ar­rested a po­lice sergeant on sus­pi­cion of mo­lesta­tions af­ter find­ing him in a car with a teenage girl in the ex­plorer pro­gram of the Porter­ville Po­lice De­part­ment. Chief Eric Kroutil called the ar­rest "shock­ing" and promised a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In Au­gust, a for­mer Los An­ge­les po­lice of­fi­cer was sen­tenced to two years be­hind bars for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 15-year-old mem­ber of the de­part­ment's pro­gram for as­pir­ing of­fi­cers. The of­fi­cer be­friended the girl and had sex with her on three oc­ca­sions at three lo­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

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