STOCKTON — Following revelations from three women of alleged inappropriate behavior by police Officer Matthew Huff that came out after he was arrested on suspicion of improper contact with an underage girl, Police Chief Eric Jones issued a statement Sunday condemning Huff’s actions:
“I find the accused behavior absolutely abhorrent, and this is exactly why he was arrested and both a criminal and ongoing administrative investigation are under way. The Stockton Police Department does not stand for such behavior. The accused behavior is not at all representative of the standards of our profession and the good work that the many men and women of SPD do every day.”
The Record reported Sunday that the women encountered Huff on duty during separate incidents over the past two years. After he obtained their cellphone numbers, he soon began sending each of them text messages, including one that included a photo of him wearing nothing but boxer briefs.
Jones felt it was necessary to issue a statement Sunday as soon as this information became public “because of the severity of the allegations and the integrity of the profession.”
Huff, 28, a five-year veteran of the department, was arrested by fellow officers on Feb. 3. He was charged four days later by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office with suspicion of communicating with a minor for a sexual offense; distributing, sending or exhibiting harmful material to a minor; and annoying a minor.
The charges are based on allegations of cellphone communications Huff had with the 17-year-old girl on or about Dec. 28 through Feb. 3, according to the criminal complaint. During his first court appearance last Wednesday, Huff — who is free on bail — was ordered by Superior Court Judge Ron Northup to stay away from minors and members of the Stockton Police Department. His next court date is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21.
Huff is the son of Stockton police Detective Paul Huff and the brother of Officer Jordan Huff. Following Huff’s arraignment last week, both he and his attorney, Joshua Olander, declined the opportunity to comment.
The three women shared their encounters with Huff after learning of his arrest, describing how they each met him in the course of official police business responding to such incidents as a robbery and a domestic disturbance. But once he had their phone numbers, they allege he immediately started sending them the inappropriate text messages.
One of the women filed a complaint in March with the Police Department and learned that her claims were substantiated but remained frustrated when she could not be told what disciplinary action the department had taken.
“I wasn’t going to say anything (publicly), but the idea that he was doing this to other women before me or after me … that’s what got me upset,” said Naomi Abrica, 38, one of the women who came forward.
Officer Joe Silva, the department’s public information officer, also issued a statement Sunday, noting the allegations against Huff continue to be investigated and asking anyone else with a complaint to bring it forward.
“We want the community to know we took these complaints seriously, investigated them thoroughly, and arrested one of our own. Even though an arrest happened, there is still an ongoing criminal and personnel investigation. We do encourage anyone with information to come forward.”
Anyone with information relevant to this case asked to call the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377, the Investigations Unit at (209) 937-8323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards up to $10,000. Callers can remain anonymous.
Cellphone users can text information to 274637 (CRIMES) by entering the keyword “TIPSPD” followed by their tip. Or they can use the Stockton Police Department mobile phone app and also remain anonymous. Internet users can visit the Police Department’s Facebook page and click “Submit a Tip.”
Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.