San Jose code enforcement inspector charged with sexual assault, extortion of massage parlor owners

Police believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to contact the department.

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Friday, November 6, 2020
SJ code enforcement inspector charged with sexual assault, extortion
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Former San Jose Code Enforcement Inspector Bill Gerry has been charged with sexual assault, asking for and receiving bribes, and extortion.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Jose code enforcement inspector who worked the city's massage parlors has been charged with committing extortion, rape and other sex crimes while on the job.

In his final full year as a San Jose code enforcement inspector, Bill Gerry made $178,000 dollars in pay and benefits. He resigned last year, moved to Texas with his wife and kids, and became active in the church, hosting regular prayer and song sessions on Facebook.

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Now, he's back in San Jose, but behind bars, charged with 14 felony counts of extortion, bribery, rape and other sex crimes. Gerry is accused of preying on the owners of the massage parlors he was inspecting.

"He would ask for money to grant permits or to overlook certain code violations. For other victims, when money wasn't an option, or if sex was an alternative, Mr. Gerry would also take that as payment, without the consent of the victims," said Santa Clara County Prosecutor Jing-Lan Lee.

Prosecutors believe he got more than $140,000 dollars from massage parlor owners in just a few months, and forced some of the six listed victims to perform sex acts.

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A mother of three describes the fear she felt and the injuries she suffered, at the hands of a San Jose police officer, who now faces a criminal charge of excessive force.

"And these victims are often the most vulnerable people in our community, they often come from backgrounds where they don't trust law enforcement and don't know where to turn to, to report such abuses of power," said Lee.

After Thursday's arraignment, Gerry's attorney would not comment, nor would his two sisters who drove from Texas to attend the hearing.

Court records obtained by the I-Team include some of Gerry's' text messages and emails, one parlor owner pleading:

"William, please give me my money back $34,000...If you don't call me, I will go to San Jose Police Department. And I will say everything you did to me!!"

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While the criminal case goes forward, some of the victims are exploring a lawsuit against the city.

"Misconduct under the color of authority, which this is unfortunately a textbook example of it," said Attorney Philip Kearney.

Kearney is preparing a civil rights lawsuit, on behalf of two plaintiffs so far; he expects more victims to come forward.

Dan: "Why is the city culpable in your mind?"

Philip Kearney: "Just the sheer scale of his conduct. ... Dozens of cash payments, multiple sexual assaults, multiple victims, multiple locations over years."

Kearney also says it's improper to send a male inspector into these types of businesses alone.

"If you talk to any vice or enforcement officer, it's a complete violation of proper standard of care for this kind of enforcement," said Kearney.

The judge set Gerry's bail at $600,000. His next hearing is later this month.

ABC7's I-Team reporter Dan Noyes will have more on this story at 11 p.m. Follow him on Twitter for updates.