Sexual Allegations Claim filed against Visalia Police Officer

July 21, 2009 1:15:12 AM PDT
A claim has been filed with the city of Visalia, accusing a longtime police officer of having a sexual relationship with a minor. The officer has been accused of the same type of misconduct in the past.Brian Pinto has faced the sexual allegations six years ago, but also appears to be a model police officer, just last year he just received officer of the year from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for making 57 DUI arrests. A local attorney says this officer needs to be off the streets because he is a danger to boys.

The claim hand delivered to the courthouse Monday accuses veteran Officer Brian Pinto of being a sexual predator.

The young man filing the claim is now 18 but was 17 at the time he alleges the incidents took place. He's asking for an unspecified amount of money.

The claim accuses Pinto of using his position as a police officer to intimidate the accuser, who admittedly says he had a sexual encounter with him on three separate occasions.

The issue came to light, when the senior at Mount Whitney's parents caught wind of the relationship.

Attorney Joe Altschule said, "The parents concern was that he was 17 years old that he was having sex with someone that was quite a bit older. They wanted it stopped."

The district attorney handled the case after Visalia Police referred it to their agency to investigate. Chief Deputy DA Don Gallion told Action News quote "We determined criminal charges cannot be sustained based on the findings of the investigation."

The accuser, who says he is openly gay, first met Pinto at a coffee shop with two other men. He says he and Pinto maintained contact through MySpace and also via electronic messages. The claim also alleges on several occasions while on duty, Pinto would text message the accuser when he was at the high school to ask him if he wanted to leave school to spend time with him.

Pinto was fired from the Visalia Police Department in 2003, after being charged with sexual misconduct involving a teenage boy. A jury cleared him of criminal charges and he won his job back in 2006.

The accuser's attorney says the city is aware of Pinto's past and needs to strongly consider the officers behavior before allowing Pinto to return to work.

"I think it's appropriate that Mr. Pinto no longer be a police officer in this community or any other community. Think for a minute about what's gone on here. These are people sworn to protect us not commit crimes against minors, which is exactly what's happened here."

Pinto has been on paid administrative leave since the recent allegations surfaced two months ago. We tried to reach officer Pinto for comment, our attempts were unsuccessful.

The accuser also says Pinto provided alcohol to him when they met at the officer's home. If the city of Visalia rejects the claim, a formal lawsuit will be filed.

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