A controversial former Glendale police officer and family law attorney who is currently on trial for trying to lure a teenage girl for sex through the Internet allegedly molested his own adopted niece and another teenage girl he encountered while on police patrol.
According to explosive courtroom testimony in the case of 43-year-old Arthur Crabtree, Crabtree sexually molested his adopted niece during a family outing when she was 12.
Also according to transcripts of criminal proceedings in Van Nuys Superior Court, Crabtree allegedly stalked a 14-year-old girl while he was on patrol duty.
That girl was interviewed by authorities and identified by name in the court testimony. However, other details, such as when this allegedly occurred and where the girl lives, are not included. Crabtree’s adopted niece is also identified by name in the testimony.
Crabtree, of Santa Clarita, was arrested at the Greyhound Bus Depot in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2005, after allegedly corresponding with members of a federal law enforcement task force who were posing as a 13-year-old girl named “Hope.”
During a preliminary hearing on Jan.3, Special Unit Detective Gary Hartog said that soon after Crabtree’s arrest, law enforcement officials spoke to his adopted niece, who told them that during a trip to Big Bear, the former officer came to the place where she was sleeping in a motor home and felt him hold her hand.
“Now, she didn’t feel that was anything unusual,” Hartog testified. “She didn’t feel uncomfortable with that. She said she had a very close relationship with him and she felt he was just trying to comfort her as they were going to sleep.”
However, several minutes later, things began to happen that did make the South Korea native uncomfortable, according to Hartog.
“After a few minutes he released her hand and he moved his hand underneath her pajama top and began rubbing on her breast, directly on her skin … He moved his hand down her torso and put his hand between her legs underneath her clothing, where he rubbed on her vaginal area for approximately two minutes,” according to the testimony.
“After placing his hand between her legs for several minutes, he removed his hand and again held her hand. Then he took her hand, which he grasped, and placed it underneath his pajama bottoms and placed her hand directly on his erect penis. He guided her hand up to move up and down on his penis for several minutes until he released her hand.”
Crabtree’s wife, who is a Glendale police sergeant, and two sons were reportedly also in the motor home at the time, but remained asleep during the incident. His adopted niece is now an adult and lives in Concord.
Crabtree, who remains free on $100,000 bail, is scheduled to return to court Feb. 8 for arraignment.
In the incident he is being tried for, Crabtree, according to authorities, sent “Hope” $20 and a bus ticket to the Greyhound bus depot, where he was arrested while waiting for the girl to arrive.
Crabtree, who is perhaps best remembered for his role in the biggest sexual harassment case in Glendale history, has pleaded innocent to all the charges. If he is convicted on all counts, Crabtree could face up to 10 years in prison.
While an officer, Crabtree was forced to resign amid a sexual harassment scandal that prompted one of the largest jury awards ever meted out against the city.
In 2003, Crabtree and several other Glendale officers were named in the now-infamous Shaved Monkeys case, which cost the city of Glendale a $4 million jury award. The officers were accused of sexual harassment and retaliation against several female officers.
Jamie Franke, one of the officers who claimed she was sexually harassed, testified that Crabtree once blackmailed a woman who had attempted suicide into having sex with him, claiming that that she would be locked up if she did not comply.
Glendale Sgt. Darryl York, who is also an attorney who once shared offices with Crabtree, ran a pornographic Web site called Shavedmonkey.com out of the Glendale Police Department’s watch commander’s office. The site, which has long since been taken down, featured photos of shaved female genitalia.
York, who wrote and produced material for the site, later admitted to 24 departmental violations in relation to the site and received a 12-day suspension from former Chief Russ Siverling. Siverling, who headed the Alhambra Police Department before taking over Glendale, has since been replaced by Chief Randy Adams, and York has been promoted to head the department’s internal affairs division.
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Along with all of that, Crabtree may have committed other questionable acts while he was serving with the department, according to testimony. A now 26-year-old woman told detectives that when she was 14 years old she encountered Crabtree at a bus stop while he was in Glendale patrol car. According to her, as told to Judge Alice C. Hill by Hartog Crabtree asked her why she was out alone so early in the morning.
When the girl explained she was going to school, Crabtree had a conversation with her and drove off.
However, Hartog said the woman told him that Crabtree would return two or three times a week to check on her and make sure she was OK. However, things took a dangerous turn when Crabtree allegedly turned up at her house one morning after her mother had left for work. The girl, Hartog recounted, had not given him her address.
“She was surprised,” the detective testified. “She asked him what he was doing there, and how he knew where she lived … He stepped inside and the two talked for about 15 minutes. During that conversation he asked her if she would like to do something with him later that day.”
The girl rejected Crabtree’s advances and he stepped forward and gave her a hug.
“He held her tightly with his arms wrapped around her. She felt as though her breasts were being pressed against him. She felt his groin up against hers. She [said] that she could feel an erect penis rubbing against her.”
At the conclusion of the testimony, Hill ordered Crabtree to turn over any firearms in his immediate possession or control. That order may also affect his wife, who works for Glendale police and has declined to comment on the case.
“I cannot give you legal advice,” Judge Hill responded after Crabtree inquired about his wife’s firearms. “Mr. Clancy [Crabtree’s attorney] can give you legal advice. That’s the order.”