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CHP officer charged with sexual assault of 16-year-old girl

FREMONT, Calif. — A California Highway Patrol officer was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the San Francisco Bay Area after a monthslong investigation, authorities said.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Monday charged Brian Watkins, 34, of Fremont, with three counts of unlawful sexual assault against a minor, after Fremont police arrested him last week following a monthslong investigation.

Fremont police began investigating Watkins in July 2019, after receiving a report of “alleged sexual misconduct involving Watkins” and a teenage girl, the East Bay Times reported.

Watkins “began communicating and having a sexual relationship with the victim when she was 16 years old,” Fremont police said in a statement.

Court charging documents say the alleged assaults happened on three separate dates between September and November of 2018. Police said that the activity “has been ongoing and continued after Watkins learned he was being investigated,” but recent unspecified developments allowed investigators to arrest Watkins.

It was not immediately known if Watkins has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

CHP San Jose area commander Capt. Jason Reardon said in a statement that Watkins had been placed on administrative leave and stripped of his peace-officer powers.

“The CHP continues to fully cooperate with the investigating agency and we are conducting our own investigation into the allegations,” Reardon said. “I want to assure the public that we take any allegation of misconduct by our employees, whether on or off duty, very seriously.”

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