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Five Tucson police employees — including four officers — have been fired for their connection to an illegal prostitution ring, the chief of police announced Tuesday.
A total of 10 department employees — nine officers and a crime-scene technician — were investigated by internal affairs after their possible involvement as customers of illegal massage parlors was discovered in January, Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said in a news conference. The department had been investigating the massage parlors since December 2011.
In addition to the five employees who were terminated, a sergeant and an officer who resigned before the investigation was completed have had their employment status changed to terminated.
Two officers received notice from the department that the allegations against them were unfounded and a third officer remains under administrative investigation by internal affairs, Villaseñor said.
Officers Nathaniel Luttrell, Oscar Ramos, Daniel Santa-Cruz, Martin Walker and crime-scene technician Enrique Wilkins were all terminated.
Michael Storie, an attorney representing the officers, said they should be judged independently.
“I am hoping (they all) will not be lumped together as each one of their actions and experiences are different, ” he said. “Some officers definitely admitted serious wrongdoings, while others just got caught in this wave.”
The department did not release information on the investigations into the five fired employees, citing a state law that prohibits any information from being released during the possible appeal process. The employees can appeal their terminations to the Civil Service Commission.
Police officials said the employees were fired for violations “that have a critical adverse impact on the professional image of the department.”
Sgt. Michael McGuire resigned in June and Officer Jesus Maldonado resigned in April, but they were notified July 13 that the final disposition of their investigation is termination.