Albany cop accused of ‘revenge porn’

A Walnut Creek police dispatcher has filed a claim alleging that an Albany police officer she knew ten years ago emailed a nude photo of her to a colleague in an apparent act of revenge porn.

The woman alleges in a claim against the Albany Police Department and Officer Peter O’Connor that Connor sent the nude photo to another Walnut Creek dispatcher, Amy Ballock, last summer. O’Connor and Ballock “exchanged disrespectful and inappropriate comments” about her after they realized that they shared a mutual acquaintance with her, the claim states.

According to the woman’s claim, Ballock shared the nude photo of her with at least one other Walnut Creek police dispatcher, who in turn reported it to her superiors.

Ballock has since been fired, the woman said.

O’Connor and Ballock used official work email addresses for their exchanges, according to the claim. The woman said her supervisor notified her about the email exchanges between O’Connor and Ballock last Sept. 3.

The woman said it appears that “Officer O’Connor disturbingly retained the ten-year-old photo” since the time it was taken. The dispatcher filed her claim against Albany on March 3 and the city denied it on May 5.

The woman’s attorney, Rick Madsen, couldn’t be reached for comment on whether he plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the woman, who is 33 years old and lives in Contra Costa County.

The woman said in claim that she has talked to Walnut Creek Police Chief Michael McQuiston and he and another top police official “expressed disgust and stated that an investigation was ongoing.” Walnut Creek officials weren’t immediately available for comment on the woman’s claim.

The woman said that to the best of her knowledge:

“O’Connor remains employed with the Albany Police Department and has not been charged with a crime or appropriately punished for his conduct.”

Albany Assistant City Manager Nicole Almaguer said O’Connor has worked for the Albany Police Department since 2006 “and is still employed in that capacity.” But Almaguer said:

“The City and Police Department are prohibited by law from disclosing police officer personnel records, including investigations of misconduct claims and any resulting findings or actions. … I can tell you that as a general policy and practice, we take allegations of inappropriate behavior very seriously.”

Almaguer added:

 “When such allegations are brought to our attention, we conduct a prompt investigation and take appropriate action if warranted by the findings of the investigation.”

The dispatcher said she has suffered serious and severe emotional humiliation and distress, mental anguish, shock and embarrassment:

“… as a result of Officer O’Connor’s aforementioned illegal and malicious conduct, and the Albany Police Department’s deficiency in taking appropriate action to remedy the wrong by its employee.”

The woman said she also has suffered loss of self-esteem, disgrace, powerlessness, physical manifestations of emotional distress and loss of the enjoyment of life.

The dispatcher said that among her potential claims and causes of action against O’Connor and the Albany Police Department are violation of privacy protection laws, civil rights and sexual discrimination violations, negligence, failure to properly discipline official misconduct and the distribution of “revenge porn.”

The woman’s claim sought damages for medical and incidental expenses, wage loss and impairment of future earnings and attorneys’ fees as well as punitive damages “in an amount appropriate to set an example and punish defendants.”