$4M settlement for explorers molested by California officer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.