An investigation of a former Southern California police officer found upskirt videos and photos secretly taken of a 16-year-old girl on his phone, prosecutors say.
Jose Anthony Paez, 30, shot the videos while assigned to a high school in the community as a Fullerton Police Department officer in November 2017, prosecutors wrote in a statement.
Paez, who left the department in May following an investigation, faces misdemeanor charges, KTLA reported. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
“Law enforcement officers are entrusted with a tremendous amount of authority and trust,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in the release. “The actions this officer engaged in betrayed that trust and preyed on the very people he was charged with protecting.”
Fullerton police had opened an investigation into Paez’s dealings with the public in connection with a separate case last summer and reassigned him to desk duty at that time, a Facebook post by the department says.
During the probe, detectives uncovered the photos and videos on his personal cellphone, prosecutors say.
“That’s crazy, because I wouldn’t expect him to be doing that,” said Daniel Esparza, a former student at the school, KNBC reported. “You expect him to be good with the kids, you know, trustworthy.”
Paez left the police department in May and investigators submitted their findings to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, the statement says.
“All Fullerton Police Department employees understand the high expectations of the profession of policing and support accountability when those expectations are not met,” wrote Police Chief Bob Dunn on Facebook.
“We remain committed to continuing our mission of building trust in our community and situations like this, which paint all of us in a negative light, only strengthen our commitment to that mission,” Dunn wrote.
Paez joined the Fullerton Police Department in 2010, reported BehindTheBadge.com in a February 2016 story on his work as a school resource officer.
““This is an awesome department — everyone helps each other out a lot,” said Paez, according to the publication. “We work here as a team.”