Sean Harrington, a former California Highway Patrol officer, will not serve time in prison for sending nude photos of suspects to his colleagues.
Harrington pleaded no contest on Jan. 27 to two felony charges of unauthorized access to a computer and copying computer data for secretly sending himself the photos of DUI suspects, writes NBC Bay Area.
Harrington pleaded not guilty in November and has finally admitted to distributing nude photos of women he arrested to himself and his colleagues at the Dublin CHP office. Harrington found these photos on the cellphones of the women he arrested.
He has been sentenced to three years probation and must also speak at a community violence solutions class to talk about his actions. If this had gone to trial, he may have faced more than three years in prison.
"You had a person who was in a position of public trust. We as the public gave him a certain amount of power," said prosecutor Barry Grove. "He violated that public trust, he abused his power, and now no longer forevermore is allowed to be a police officer. He will be a convicted felon for the rest of his life."
The case was first reported in October 2014, after a 23-year-old woman reported numerous nude photos from her cellphone were sent to an unknown number. The number was ultimately tracked to Harrington.
The judge "wanted him to benefit from education that simply putting him in jail or making him wear an electronic bracelet never would have given him," said Harrington’s lawyer Michael Rains. "I think the judge was thoughtful in the sentence she imposed, and I ultimately appreciate it as his lawyer."
When asked about his actions involving the distribution of nude photos, Harrington said it is a “game” among officers and he learned of it while working in the CHP’s Los Angeles office.
This case may have sent a message to any other officer who may have been involved with Harrington, as officials have distanced themselves from the scandal.
"It's just one guy's statement," said Sgt. Jose Nunez, spokesman for the CHP Southern Division. "Officers who I work with don't do it."