A Yuma school resource officer has resigned after the department learned he had struck up a personal and seemingly sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Yuma Police Department was investigating a complaint that one of its officers engaged in sexual conduct with a minor between 2017 and 2018. The officer was not identified at the time.
But at the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board meeting on November 20, compliance specialist Steve Jacobs described the case of Yuma cop Bobby Garcia, who had been accused by the 17-year-old girl of having a sexual relationship with her.
Garcia denied any personal or sexual relationship with the girl when interviewed, Jacobs said. Yet, information extracted from the girl's phone contradicted statements made by Garcia.
He had clearly been communicating with the teenager, phone records showed, and he had even asked her to send him a "video of her twerking," Jacobs said. Garcia asked the girl "for other pictures," according to the AZPOST board.
Phone records also showed that the teen once had brought the officer beer at his private residence.
The Yuma Police Department has initiated a criminal investigation into the matter, but the investigation has come to a halt due to Garcia's refusal to provide the PIN for his cellphone. Garcia's phone was seized under a warrant, but neither the crime labs of the Department of Public Safety nor the FBI have yet been able to open and access the phone.
Garcia was placed on administrative leave but resigned on June 26 before the internal investigation could be completed.
"The criminal investigation remains ongoing," said Sergeant Lori Franklin, a spokesperson for the Yuma Police Department. "The investigation is in reference to the allegations that have been made about Garcia."
Garcia did not respond to a voicemail left on his cellphone seeking comment.
The Yuma Police Department was rocked by another sexual misconduct scandal earlier this year when a California judge sentenced Jared Elkins to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a female relative while in San Diego. At the time of the assault, Elkins was off duty. He resigned before being convicted.
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