A San Francisco police sergeant accused of a sex crime in Oakland pleaded not guilty to one charge of committing lewd acts on a minor Monday in Alameda County Superior Court.
San Francisco police Sgt. Donald Forte, 58, a 37-year department veteran who supervised motorcycle officers in the traffic company, was arrested June 14 after Oakland police officers allegedly found him having sex with a 14-year-old prostitute in a car.
Oakland police say they discovered Forte when they responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle parked in the area of Calcot Place at about 11:34 p.m., an Oakland Police Department spokesman said at the time of the arrest.
Calcot Place is a small, dead-end street near the 23rd Avenue overpass of Interstate Highway 880.
Forte’s lawyer, Harry Stern, said it was premature to comment on the case.
“What I do know for certain is that Sgt. Forte has had a very distinguished career — 37 years of service with the SFPD and we will have a better idea about the outlook for the case once I’ve had the chance to read the police reports and associated evidence,” Stern said.
Forte faces one felony charge of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office did not comment on the case.
Forte was placed on unpaid leave after the arrest, San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina said. He remains on leave without pay while his legal proceedings and a concurrent administrative investigation take place.
While it is not uncommon for workers of retirement age to retire when facing discipline, Mannina said Forte has not done so. The San Francisco Department of Human Resources indicated he has not filed retirement papers.
“He hasn’t been convicted of a crime. He has every right to retire. He’s got service; he’s got age. He’s put in 37 years at the department,” Mannina said.
Forte is free from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on $138,000 bail. Stern said he is due back in court Aug. 6.