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Teen Tied to Sexual Misconduct Case ‘Relieved’ by Oakland Settlement

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Jasmine Abuslin with her attorney, John Burris, at a press conference on May 31, 2017. (Julie Small/KQED)

The teenager at the center of a Bay Area police sexual exploitation scandal says she's happy and relieved to have settled her civil rights claim against the city of Oakland for nearly $1 million.

Jasmine Abuslin, 19, who once identified as Celeste Guap, said last summer that she had sex with some 30 officers -- some while she was a minor. In addition to civil claims, six officers and sheriff's deputies were criminally charged in Alameda County.

Oakland’s City Council voted early Wednesday morning to approve the $989,000 settlement -- with no admission of liability.

Abuslin is now out of the sex trade. She said she could not have imagined a year ago that she would now be in this position.

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“I didn’t think anyone cared about prostitutes,” Abuslin said at a press conference on Wednesday.

She was not specific about her plans for the settlement money, and said only that she felt gratified that she “can now close this chapter and move on with my life.”

Eventually, she said, she would like to go to school and care for animals.

Abuslin is represented by civil rights attorney John Burris, who called the case particularly offensive given that the alleged abuse of the teen stretched across OPD and five other law enforcement agencies.

“It was like a cabal," Burris said. "Officers were passing her around like a kickball."

Burris is representing Abuslin in similar civil rights claims against law enforcement agencies in San Francisco, Richmond and Livermore, as well as Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Burris said the case was about more than the abuse of one teenager. The officers identified in all of the claims “believed they were above the law” and that no one would care because the teen’s credibility would be called into question, he said.

The officers are supposed to “protect girls young girls -- not take advantage of them,” Burris said.

The case shook the city last year and made national headlines following the sudden departure of Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent. Two following interim police chiefs also resigned within eight days of Whent's departure.

Police departments in Oakland and Richmond have disciplined, demoted and fired dozens of officers.

The Alameda County district attorney has filed criminal charges against six officers, ranging from a misdemeanor for failing to report child abuse to felony oral copulation with a minor.

“The lesson here is if you engage in illegal, improper conduct in the dark,” Burris said, “it will come to light at some point.”

Abuslin recently testified against one defendant and says she will continue to testify as needed against the others.

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