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Sex misconduct cases prompt policy shift in California city

May 28, 2022 GMT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The city of San Jose in Northern California has announced a new policy requiring city employees accused of criminal misconduct be placed immediately on leave until an initial investigation is completed.

The new policy announced Friday in a statement from the San Jose Police Department is designed to protect the public and came after Mayor Sam Liccardo earlier this week called for an investigation into police handling of sexual misconduct by city workers, the Mercury News of San Jose reported.

A former city code inspector was sentenced last week to 35 years in prison for extorting sex and soliciting bribes from massage business owners. A police officer was charged with indecent exposure this month after he was accused of masturbating while responding to a call.

Police knew of complaints against both men for more than a year, but the men continued working with the public. Liccardo on Monday asked for an investigation of what police did or did not do after receiving the complaints.

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The new policy calls for the city manager to be notified when employees are accused of crimes such as sexual misconduct, assault or battery, theft or bribery. Following a preliminary review, the city manager will have final approval over whether the employee remains on leave or is assigned to a job that doesn’t require interacting with the public until the criminal or administrative investigation is completed.

“Protecting the public is paramount; that is what this policy intends to do,” Police Chief Anthony Mata said in the statement.

Other allegations of criminal misconduct will be considered on an individual basis.