STOCKTON — Three women have raised allegations of inappropriate behavior from a Stockton police officer who is facing felony charges of improper contact with a teenage girl.
The women, who encountered the officer during separate incidents over the past two years, described similar incidents where Stockton police Officer Matthew Huff began sending them text messages soon after each of them had contact with him while he was on duty. The messages, some of which have been obtained by The Record, include a photo of Officer Huff in nothing but boxer briefs.
Huff, who was hired by Stockton police on Dec. 17, 2012, was arrested by his own department on Feb. 3. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office charged him with communicating with a minor for a sexual offense; distributing, sending or exhibiting harmful material to a minor; and annoying a minor. The charges stem from cellphone communication Huff, 28, is said to have had with a 17-year-old girl on or about Dec. 28, 2017, to Feb. 3, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
Huff, who is out on bail, was ordered by Judge Ron Northup to stay away from minors and members of the Stockton Police Department. He will be back in San Joaquin County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21. According to Record archives, Huff is the son of Stockton Detective Paul Huff and the brother of Officer Jordan Huff, who was hired by the Stockton Police Department in July 2016.
Jane Doe 1, who requested her name not be used for fear of retaliation, said she met Huff in July 2017. The two crossed paths when he responded to a domestic disturbance at her home, where Doe’s ex-boyfriend had to be escorted from the property. During this period of time, there were many calls for service to her home. One of those times, a woman stole her cellphone and Huff took the report, Doe told The Record.
Doe alleges Huff recovered the phone and personally delivered it to her home. She said the phone was out of battery power and once she turned it on about 10 to 20 minutes later, he already had sent her multiple text messages.
“He was flirting with me,” she said. “I was responding. I wasn’t flirting with him, but it was a conversation.”
The two continued communicating back and forth in July, and during this time, Doe said Huff stopped by her home unannounced several times claiming that he was checking to see if her ex-boyfriend was around. He also sent her sexual messages, requested photos from her and sent photos of himself. One of the photos is a mirror selfie of Huff smiling in a bathroom wearing nothing but dark blue boxers.
Doe claims that during their conversations Huff mentioned he got her cellphone number from a police report and that “he just beat an internal affairs case and had only been back to work for four months.”
She said initially she was flattered to be getting attention from Huff but was “wigged out by him” when he commented on her children’s race.
“I didn’t know your kids were BLACK,” Doe said Huff wrote in a text. “I would have thought they were of Hispanic descent.”
She said at that point she stopped responding to his texts, which had progressively gotten more “insane” and “risqué,” although he continued texting her four to five times a day for about a month.
Doe said his relentless texting began to worry her and made her wonder whether he would try to retaliate against her because she didn’t accept his advances. He knew where she lived and had all her information; what if he pulled her over? she thought.
“I was never going to report it,” Doe said. “He’s a cop. He’s protected.”
By the end of August 2017, the texting stopped and she was relieved to move on from the experience. Then he was arrested.
“I got a chill,” she said of seeing the news reports of his arrest.
Of the three women who came forward, one declined to go public out of concern, but all described meeting Huff while he was performing his duties as an officer. In each instance, Huff is alleged to have taken down their phone number under the guise of conducting police work and immediately began sending them inappropriate texts.
Attorney Joshua Olander, who is representing Huff, declined to comment for this article.
“Unfortunately at this time, I can’t comment on current prosecution or these allegations,” he said.
Huff declined to comment on Wednesday after his arraignment.
“As part of our job, we contact people either in person, on the phone or by electronic communication,” Stockton Police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said. “These contacts need to be for official business and professional at all times. We have department rules and regulations outlining how we must conduct ourselves with our community. If an officer violates policy or rules and regulations, they are subject to discipline.”
Silva said he could not comment on the specifics of either investigation due to California law on personnel matters and to preserve the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation into Huff.
“I can confirm, however, that a prior incident which was non-criminal in nature was reported, investigated administratively and appropriate action was taken,” he said in a written statement. “As with all criminal investigations, we encourage people to call if they have additional or new information to provide.”
In March, about four months before his alleged communication with Doe, a woman filed a complaint against Huff with the Stockton Police Department.
“(Naomi)?” reads the first text message Huff reportedly sent 38-year-old Naomi Abrica.
“Yes,” she responds.
“Its officer huff the one that came and saved u,” he replied.
Abrica was working at her south Stockton office in March last year when a man came in and stole her laptop. She chased after the thief while her colleague called Stockton police. Officer Huff responded.
She recalls Huff explaining there was little chance she’d recover her laptop and said there was no point in filing a police report. Naomi said a client came in and began praising Huff, who lingered at the office for another 10 to 15 minutes asking Abrica questions. Soon after he left, he began texting her. She asked him what he wanted, to which he replied that he just wanted her to have his number in case she saw the laptop thief.
“Ik (I know) your husband or bf would want u getting proper help so im here for u,” Huff replied according to messages obtained by The Record.
Abrica commented that it was her children who wanted proper care for her, to which Huff responded, “So your simgle (sic) no way liar lol and that’s awesome u have kids u look way young to have multiple tho.”
The conversation raised concerns with Abrica, who told Huff she was uncomfortable with the messages. After one last text that day, he stopped sending her messages. That same night, she filed a complaint with the Stockton Police Department.
“I was already upset about the laptop and then for him to do that, I think he totally overstepped his boundaries, so I was crying,” she said.
“I was (scared),” she said of reporting him. “I didn’t want him to come and try to scare me because he has a badge, but as scared as I was about it, I can’t let him put this fear on me.”
Abrica said she was in contact with Sgt. Bradley Burell, who received a copy of the text message exchange, and he was very nice and told her the department wouldn’t tolerate his behavior.
“I was telling (Burell) about how mad I was that it was like (Huff) saw that I was at a vulnerable, emotional stage, and he took advantage of that and (Huff) thought he could get his way,” she said.
Abrica said police investigated her complaint, but she expressed concerns to detectives that she felt nothing would happen to Huff. Several months after her complaint, she received a letter from Stockton police stating her claims were substantiated, but the department couldn’t disclose what action was taken.
Learning of the arrest, Abrica said she is certain the Police Department didn’t do enough to stop Huff’s behavior and it makes her not want to call the police anymore.
“I wasn’t going to say anything (publicly),” Abrica said. “But the idea that he was doing this to other women before me or after me … that’s what got me upset.”
To file a complaint with the Stockton Police Department, call the watch commander at (209) 937-8480 or the Professional Standards Section at (209) 937-8697. People can also file complaints in person at police headquarters at 22 E. Market St. or by mail to the Police Department’s Professional Standards Section, 22 E. Market St., Stockton, CA 95202. For more information, visit stocktongov.com/government/departments/police/fileComplaint.html.
To view the Stockton Police Department policy and procedures, visit stocktongov.com/government/departments/police/abGeneralOrders.html.
Contact reporter Almendra Carpizo at (209) 546-8264 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlmendraCarpizo.