Retired LAPD officer charged with revenge porn after sharing colleague's images with department

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Investigating cases of domestic violence and sexual assault didn’t protect Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Detective Ysabel Villegas from being a victim. Despite experiencing violence herself, the LAPD detective has stood her ground and won “significant victory” in a case against the City of Los Angeles and former colleague Danny Reedy. A warrant for Reedy’s arrest was issued on Monday. Villegas had a consensual relationship with Reedy beginning in 2013, which later turned violent, ABC News reported. When she reported the violence to her superiors, no disciplinary action was taken instead Villegas was transferred to a different department. As the abuse continued to escalate, she then filed a lawsuit against the city and Reddy to fight this injustice.

The lawsuit filled in March 2019 alleged that Villegas was raped, beaten, and threatened with cyber exploitation, Reedy at the time still maintained employment at the LAPD despite a five-year restraining order against him, KTLA 5 reported. The restraining order prohibited Reedy from using a firearm. He has since retired.

In her restraining order application, Villegas detailed the act of revenge porn. ABC News reported:

"He released intimate photos of me, extorting me. He was extorting and harassing me, and then released the photos in November because I broke up with him in August. It was revenge to ruin my reputation and embarrass me in front of our peers."

In total, Reedy faces nine charges including extortion, domestic violence, violating a restraining order, and wrongful possession of a firearm. As noted by ABC News, while a settlement has been reached, it is pending city approval. "In a settlement reached with the City Attorney, LAPD Detective Ysabel Villegas has won a significant victory in her case against the City of Los Angeles. She brought this case to stand up for her rights and the rights of all women. Ms. Villegas stood up to a bully and to her employer, which failed to protect her. We have been proud to represent her in this fight,” Villegas’s attorney Lisa Bloom said in a statement. If convicted the charges against Reedy carry a sentence of six years.

Related: Man strangled and killed Chicago college student because she ignored his catcalls, police say

Prosecutors said that the abuse began in May 2016, when Reddy threatened Villegas with revenge porn. According to the lawsuit, Reedy would take photos of Villegas without her knowledge. “These photographs were taken while Detective Villegas was in various stages of undress, including one occasion when the couple was engaged in the act of oral sex,” the lawsuit states, KTLA 5 reported. Reedy then used these photos to threaten Villegas that should she break up with him, he would share the photos with others. Reedy also used the photos to force Villegas to meet with him and out of fear she complied, the suit said.

After having the courage to end the relationship, Villegas was again threatened by the images. Reedy even emailed the photos to her at work and sent her warning texts. “I’m not done yet, it’s only just began[.],” the text read according to KTLA, it also implied other officers would receive the images, according to the lawsuit. “I promised you that[.] You finally crossed the line[.] Now face the consequences[.],” the text continued.

Villegas continued to report the abuse but no action was taken. She then took a stress leave of absence after a 30-year career with the police department. “To end my career this way has been debilitating to say the least. I can’t even describe it. It’s horrible,” she said last year.

An investigation of California’s Criminal Cops by statewide news organizations “found police who are accused of committing a litany of violent behavior,” including physical domestic violence, often plead to nonviolent misdemeanors which result in the ability for them to keep their firearms and continue their duty enforcing the law, the Mercury News reported. In the past decade, a review of state officers also found that over 80 law enforcement officials were convicted of domestic violence, an underreported number due to skewed records on police conduct.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAIN), an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds and that statistic is even higher for those affected by domestic violence. One’s socioeconomic status, profession, and race does not keep them from being a victim of domestic violence. Villegas’s experience is not an isolated incident. A study published by the Data & Society Research Institute reported that “one in 25 Americans are either threatened with or victims of nonconsensual image sharing, or ‘revenge porn’,” according to Business Insider. Last year, former California U.S. Rep. Katie Hill shared her experience with abuse in a piece for The New York Times, she too became victim to which led to her resignation from Congress.

NBCLA reported that Reedy appeared shortly in court Thursday, his arraignment has been postponed to Feb. 6.

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#sexualassault
#lapd
#domesticviolence
#survivors
#revengeporn
#metoo
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#violenceagainstwomen
#endviolence
#domesticviolenceawareness