LONG BEACH — A city police lieutenant has been sentenced to three years' probation after pleading no contest to having sex with a 16-year-old Explorer Scout, who blamed herself for encouraging their liaison.
Robert Padilla, 46, who had served for 22 years with the department, was also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service, undergo psychological counseling and pay a $100 fine at his sentencing by Superior Court Judge David Horowitz on Wednesday. Padilla was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse, a felony.
He had been suspended without pay since March 10 and now faces a police administrative hearing.
"He will lose his job and his pension benefits," Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence E. Mason said.
"It's a pretty harsh sentence," said Padilla's attorney, George Franscell. "The man has an unblemished career in 22 years of law enforcement."
Officer Called Reluctant
In a report to the court, police investigators said the teen-ager encouraged a reluctant Padilla, who is divorced, to have sex with her at his home between Feb. 20 and 28.
It was "my fault because I'm the one who started everything. I'm the one who came on to him. The first day . . . he said 'No. No.' I kept on. I was persistent," the female Explorer is quoted as telling investigators in the report.
Mason said that even if the teen-ager initiated their contacts, "the defendant knew she was just a 16-year-old young lady. He was in a position of trust. He should not have acquiesced to whatever overtures the young lady might have made."
Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor said they were satisfied by the fact that Padilla did not receive a jail term.
"The judge didn't feel that sentencing him to jail would be necessary or appropriate, and I can't say that I disagree with the judge," Mason said.
Since the charges were levied against Padilla, the Police Department has tightened fraternization guidelines and banned patrol ride-alongs involving female Explorers unless a woman officer is present. The 20 Explorer volunteers in Long Beach are part of a career-training program and are used in non-hazardous assignments.
Padilla was not involved in the Explorer program but met the girl, who is now 17, while she was doing desk work in the station, police said.
In 1983, the Signal Hill Police Department disbanded its Explorer program after three officers were fired for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old Explorer.