Prostitute says Oakland patrol officer tipped her off to undercover stings

A 21-year-old prostitute testified Thursday that a former Oakland police officer solicited her for sex after meeting her while he was patrolling an Oakland strip infamous for prostitution and sex trafficking.

“Glad you got all dressed up tonight. Tell me you at least have something under that skirt,” the woman said then-Officer Ryan Walterhouse texted her shortly after they exchanged numbers in September 2016, a couple of weeks before they arranged to meet at a Castro Valley hotel.

Walterhouse, 27, is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one misdemeanor court of engaging in prostitution. Authorities allege he tipped off the woman to undercover prostitution stings in late 2016, weeks after several of his Oakland police colleagues were arrested, fired or otherwise disciplined in connection with a law enforcement sex exploitation scandal centered around the teenage daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher who formerly went by the name Celeste Guap. Walterhouse resigned from the department last year.

 

Last month, former Oakland officer Brian Bunton, 41, was ordered to stand trial on one felony and one misdemeanor charges related to the teenager after she testified that he told her about an undercover Oakland police prostitution sting after they had oral sex. She later found out that he lied about the sting. A preliminary hearing for a current Oakland officer accused in connection with the scandal, Giovanni LoVerde, is scheduled for next month but is expected to be continued because of the Walterhouse case.

Walterhouse, who patrolled a part of East Oakland that includes International Boulveard, an internationally known hub for sex trafficking, first made contact with the 21-year-old sex worker in 2015 while he was patrolling and she was walking the prostitution strip, the woman testified Thursday. He once was the cover officer for one her arrests, and would frequently say hello before he gave her his number in 2016.

The woman testified Thursday that Walterhouse met her in a Castro Valley hotel room on the morning of Oct. 1, after his overnight patrol shift, and paid her $200 via Venmo for the meeting.

She described a brief hotel encounter during which Walterhouse fondled her, and then she asked him to leave when something “felt off.” They did not have sex.

“I just didn’t feel right,” she said.

“What seemed off to you, or weird to you?” prosecutor Sabrina Farrell asked.

 

“He was a dominant person … because he was an officer …,” she replied.

A few days later, the woman said she was stopped by two Oakland police officers who said they knew about her meeting with Walterhouse at the hotel. They took pictures of her text messages with Walterhouse and encouraged her to keep in contact with him.

The woman said Walterhouse tipped her off to undercover sting operations on International Boulevard on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14. On the latter date, she said she was already out and in the process of getting arrested when she received the warning.

Later, Waterhouse texted her that she “owed” him. She assumed he meant she owed him for the tips about the stings.

Authorities said FBI was conducting nationwide sting operations, including in Alameda County, to find child sex-trafficking suspects and victims on one of the dates Walterhouse warned the woman.

Farrell told preliminary hearing Judge Thomas Rogers on Thursday that police learned of Walterhouse’s conduct through a confidential police informant. The defense team has a pending motion to reveal the informant’s identity.

The preliminary hearing continues with further testimony on June 19.

 

 

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