Former Phoenix Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexually Exploiting a Minor

Disgraced former Phoenix Police Officer Justin LaClere changed his plea this week and admitted he was guilty of both luring a minor for sexual exploitation and then having sexual intercourse with her.

Scottsdale Police arrested 32-year-old LaClere, a seven-year veteran of the force, in January 2014 after receiving information that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl at her house while her parents were out running errands.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, the two met on the social media site Whisper, which allows users to upload pictures anonymously and then privately message one another. On January 13, 2014, the high school girl “uploaded a picture of a baby with the text ‘I want to get pregnant but I’m only a teen’ written across it.”

LaClere, using the handle “Jason69er,” sent her a message, and the two began “a long string of private messages” during the next two days. He asked her how old she was and was not dissuaded when she revealed she was only 17.

“Want a baby in ya?” he asked.

“Ya,” she responded.

“You’d be a beautiful pregnant mommy, heck maybe I’d help ya,” he said, adding that they should meet up and “start making a baby.”

A Scottsdale police officer states in a court deposition that “the conversation continued between them [that day] about her wanting to have a baby, and at one point he told her, ‘Well I might just have to throw my name in the hat. I’ve wanted a young pregnant girlfriend.’”
Later in the day he messaged her, “Is me being older okay?”

“Yah,” she wrote, “but I know my parents wouldn’t like it though.” She asked him how old he was, and he admitted to being 32.

“Is that a problem?” he wrote.

“[I don’t know],” she said, “I’d be worried my dad would call the cops and have you arrested for sleeping with a minor since I’m not of legal age to sleep with you.”

He asked when her birthday was, she told him that she had just turned 17 a few months earlier. He responded that he thought they should meet up and have sex anyway.

LaClere sent her two more pictures of himself, and in one of them, he “was wearing a dark blue uniform with Phoenix PD patches on the shoulders.” When she asked him if he was a cop, he replied that he was.

The following morning, while the girl was riding the bus to school, she got a message from LaClere. He wanted to know if she’d be able to sneak away after school and meet up with him. Court documents state that “he told her that he thought she should go home after school and if no one was there he would come in really quickly and they could have sex . . . She agreed to the plan.”

Later that afternoon, she messaged him to say her father and sister had just left the house for a bit, and that he should come by. She gave him her address, and he got there sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The girl later told the police that they immediately went to her bedroom and had sex on the floor. “He was not wearing a condom and he ejaculated inside of her,” documents show. And “once it was done he got dressed and left the house before her parents got home.” (A forensic exam the following day revealed a small tear on her inner labia.)

Sergeant Benjamin Hoster of the Scottsdale Police Department tells New Times that the girl told her friends about the encounter, and that they reported the incident to the school resource officer. During a subsequent interview, the girl confirmed the facts of the case to the police, and said the man who came to her house was the same man in the pictures Jason69er sent.

The police were able to positively identify him as Justin Francis LaClere, and arrested him on January 16 at the Gilbert home he shared with his wife. He immediately resigned from the Phoenix Police Department.

“During an interview, he admitted that he was Jason69er and had engaged in this texting conversation with the victim on Whisper,” documents show. “He also stated that he was aware that she was only [17] years of age as she had indicated several times during their conversation.”

LaClere said that they had sexual intercourse and confirmed her description of the events. “He further stated that he had gone over to her residence with the express purpose of engaging in sex with her and for nothing else. LaClere stated that he knew what he did was wrong because she was under age.”

He was taken into custody, and bail was set at $10,000. LaClere initially pleaded not guilty in early 2014, but changed his plea earlier this week. He is being charged with “luring a minor for sexual exploitation,” a class 3 felony, and “sexual conduct with a minor,” a class 6 felony.

The Maricopa County Superior Court docket for the case shows that attorneys for the case filed a plea bargain, but no details about the terms of the bargain could be found. (The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to request for comment.)

LaClere, who is now 33, will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. August 12.

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Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser