A San Francisco police officer under investigation for possible connections to an Oakland Police Department sex trafficking scandal has been put on modified duty and transferred from his station, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.
Officer Rodger Ponce De Leon was transferred on chief’s orders from the Northern Station on June 16. His new duties are unknown, but he has been assigned to the San Francisco Police Department’s’ Operations Center, which, sources say, is one of several locations officers are sent when they are not permitted to have contact with the public.
Ponce De Leon was transferred as a result of this investigation, according to two sources with links to SFPD. Sources also told the Examiner that Ponce De Leon had his gun taken from him at Northern Station before he was transferred.
Ponce De Leon declined to comment for this story.
The woman at the center of the scandal, known as Celeste Guap, confirmed to the Examiner that she had sex with Ponce De Leon several times between November 2015 and February 2016. Guap, who said she was 18 at the time of her encounters with Ponce De Leon, has told other news organizations she had sex with three SFPD officers.
The Examiner was unable to verify the names of the other two officers.
Guap, a former underage sex worker who says she had sex with dozens of law enforcement officers in the Bay Area, is at the center of a growing scandal that originated with allegations that Oakland police officers took advantage of her.
“I know him,” Guap wrote in Spanish in a Facebook message to the Examiner, referring to Ponce De Leon. “We had sex a number of times.”
Guap did not respond to questions about whether Ponce De Leon paid her for sex, nor to questions regarding the names of the two other SFPD officers.
No laws bar officers from having consensual sex with adults, though Guap has previously said some of her sexual encounters with local officers occurred while she was a minor.
“This is a personnel matter and an ongoing investigation,” SFPD spokesperson Giselle Talkoff said in an email.
KQED has reported, through social media analysis of Guap’s Facebook page, that at least two dozen SFPD officers are linked to the sex trafficking scandal.
Ponce De Leon was a lateral hire from OPD and started with SFPD in mid-2014, according to San Francisco Department of Human Resources. He worked as an Oakland police officer from February 2012 to August 2014, according to the City of Oakland, which declined to comment on his involvement in the investigation.
For at least part of his time in Oakland, Ponce De Leon worked in the station that policed the area along International Avenue where Guap reportedly worked as a sex worker. It unclear when or how the two met.
SFPD is currently investigating personnel to see if there are additional links to the scandal in Oakland.
San Francisco Deputy Chief Mikail Ali was in contact with Guap through Facebook and is cooperating with SFPD’s inquires into the matter.
Ali told the Examiner he received and accepted a friend request from Guap last year because the two shared mutual friends. Ali said he discontinued contact after Guap’s messages became increasingly sexual.
When Guap’s image began appearing in the news, Ali recovered the messages and reported the contact to SFPD Interim Chief Toney Chaplin.
SFPD Deputy Chief Hector Sainez told the San Francisco Police Commission that the department is aware of the contact and that Ali is cooperating with the inquiry.