Phone-snooping CHP officer gets probation for nude photos

A former California Highway Patrol officer who forwarded nude photos of arrested women to himself and other officers was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation, according to a Contra Costa County prosecutor.

Sean Harrington, 35, pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized access to a computer and copying computer data this morning and was sentenced to the probation and a suspended 180-day jail sentence, prosecutor Barry Grove said.

One of the conditions of his probation is attending a community violence solutions class where he must participate as a speaker, Grove said. If he violates his probation, he will have to serve the jail sentence.

Grove said:

“You had a person who was in a position of public trust, we as the public gave him a certain amount of power. … 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.”

Harrington was charged with stealing nude photos from the cellphones of two arrested women, but prosecutors said he admitted during interviews of stealing photos four to six times during the last few years.

He surrendered on Nov. 3 of last year after a 23-year-old San Ramon woman reported that about six nude and semi-nude photos had been secretly sent from her phone to an unknown number traced to Harrington. Investigators obtained search warrants for Harrington and found he had forwarded the photos to himself while the woman was in jail for a DUI arrest in San Ramon.

Investigators also found he had stolen photos from the phone of a 19-year-old DUI suspect arrested in Livermore on Aug. 6 while she was in the hospital. The DUI charges against both women have since been dropped.

Prosecutors also obtained evidence that Harrington had forwarded the photos to two officers in the CHP’s Dublin area office. Neither of the two officers implicated, Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons, are facing charges in the case.