Self-identified sex workers say sex with cops is nothing new

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Jasmine Abuslin's case rocked local law enforcement agencies, but some women say having sex with cops for money is nothing new in the Bay Area.

Dozens of Oakland residents could be any number of places on a Friday night, but for the last four years they've gone to the Fruitvale District of East Oakland.

RELATED: Four Richmond police officers fired in connection with sex scandal

"Every Friday, New Year's, rain or whatever we come out," said Oakland councilman Noel Gallo.

Here, even the smallest volunteers deliver a big invitation.

"Even if it's taking one girl off the street at a time that's what we got to do," Gallo said

The women of Victory Outreach Church march past sunset looking for that one girl who will consider stepping out of the life.

"That's what we want to give these girls, dignity, belonging and destiny," said Sylvia Vigil who is with Victory Outreach Church.

One of the first girls ABC7 met agreed to talk. She told ABC7 she was 17 when she began working as a prostitute. She is now 23. She says when she was underage a San Francisco police officer paid her for sex. She says he initially told her he was in the Army.

"It was very surprising to hear that," said Tamika Bonner who is with Victory Outreach Church.

It's less surprising to Gallo.

"There are many Jasmine's out here," said Gallo.

Abuslin is a self-identified sex worker who says she had sex with more than 30 police officers from seven law enforcement agencies, some while she was underage. Several are now facing criminal charges and administrative action.

The next girl ABC7 met says she began at just 13 years old. She says while she was still underage an Oakland police officer threatened to arrest her if she didn't do him a favor.

"Kind of backing her up into a wall," said Toni Dominguez with Victory Outreach Church.

She says she ultimately denied him and he left her alone.

"There are times some of these girls are manipulated mentally to the point where they have no choice," Dominguez said.

Rory Keller says she was one of them.

"I don't think no was an option," said Keller who is a former self-identified prostitute.

Keller received a $350,000 settlement from the city of Oakland 16 years ago, but says she was prevented from talking about it until recently.

"I had to perform oral sex on all the officers that were there. There were six total," said Keller.

Keller says it went on for two years.

"It didn't stop when it happened to me, you know what I mean, it didn't stop," said Keller.

Recently, another Oakland police officer, Ryan Walterhouse, pleaded not guilty to prostitution and obstruction of justice charges.

"He's willing to meet these charges head-on and discuss what the real truth in this situation is," said Walterhouse's attorney Michael Cardoza when his client appeared in court on October 21.

According to the complaint, Walterhouse asked a known prostitute via text how she was going to repay him for the information he gave her.

The Oakland Police Department says the alleged conduct occurred both off and on duty.

"This does not define our organization," said OPD Deputy Chief John Lois during a press conference on Oct. 20.

The first alleged encounter involving Walterhouse happened just one day after ABC7 News was out with the women of Victory Outreach Church.

"You'd think that there would be a greater change," said Keller.

On the Friday night, ABC7 News was on International Boulevard where at least two girls said they'll consider attending a Halloween party at the church. Cellphone numbers were exchanged, which was a significant victory for the women of Victory Outreach Church.

"Through our conversations with her, befriending her, texting her and loving on her, there's hope for her," said Bonner.

"I don't see them as what they are now, I see them as what they can become," said Dominguez.

No matter how many Friday nights it takes.

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