It was a “burning anger” against law enforcement that a former Glendale cop said compelled him to play a cat-and-mouse game with authorities while enticing a 13-year-old girl over the Internet into having sex with him.
During dramatic testimony Monday in a San Fernando Valley courtroom, Arthur Crabtree, who was embroiled in another sexually charged and hugely expensive civil sexual harassment lawsuit while on the job in Glendale and was forced into retirement because of it, said he resented police so much that he misled officials into believing he was trying to lure the girl — who was really an undercover agent with a joint task force — into coming to Los Angeles from Arizona.
He was arrested at the Greyhound Bus Depot in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2005.
Crabtree testified that he was merely playing a game.
“The plan was to drive them crazy by continuing on and on and on so they didn’t have an arrestable situation,” Crabtree said. “I became upset over an internal affairs investigation, and I have had a burning anger towards the police with the way [the matter in Glendale] was handled.”
Crabtree, who is also a family law attorney, is charged with one felony count of attempted lewd acts on a child, three felony counts of attempting to send harmful matter over the Internet, four misdemeanor counts of attempted child molestation and one misdemeanor count of child molestation related to lewd behavior over the Internet.
If convicted, he could face 15 years in state prison.
Crabtree said he originally had no intentions of showing up at the bus depot.
“I was going to let them run around, do their surveillance and get all pissed. First I said the Newhall [bus depot] and I let that sink in, and then I said San Fernando and let it sink in, and then I said North Hollywood,” he said. “It was going to be my grand finale. Then I started thinking what if it was a real person. I was just going to confirm there was no minor on that bus.”
“And you brought her a gift kind of as a consolation prize?” Crabtree’s attorney Patrick Clancy asked.
“Yes,” Crabtree said.
When Clancy asked what he brought the minor, Crabtree responded: “A regular bikini.”
During a preliminary hearing, authorities testified that police also found condoms and bath gel in the trunk of Crabtree’s car.
Monday’s trial testimony comes days after another alleged victim of Crabtree took the stand and testified that the former police sergeant made similar attempts over the Internet to have sex with her.
The girl, now 17, said she met Crabtree on the Internet and testified that he asked her to masturbate during a chat session. He also talked about having sex with her at church, the girl said.
Crabtree later began attending her church and enrolled his son in a Sunday school class that she taught. The girl said she became disgusted when she discovered his age.
Crabtree’s attorney contends that his client believed he was talking to a 25- to 30-year-old woman.
Prior to being charged with committing criminal offenses, Crabtree was among a handful of officers who became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that cost the city more than $3.5 million in damages awarded by a jury.
He was forced into retirement in the midst of an internal affairs investigation that was never resolved.
Using his former brother-in-law Mark Hershey’s screen name, MarkH661, Crabtree hung out in a chat room called “I Love Older Men” and testified that he learned to recognize police officers because they commonly use the number 13 in their screen name.
On the stand, he testified that authorities use that number in hopes of catching pedophiles who commit sex crimes against children under the age of 13 because they typically receive maximum prison sentences.
During the sting, officers used the name Runawaygirl13.
Jury deliberations were expected to begin this week.