Cops Investigated For Sex Trips Overseas
Nov. 16 - BCN -- Federal authorities confirmed today an investigation into the actions of a San Francisco police officer who died of an apparent suicide in a Cambodian jail cell.
The death of Officer Donald Ramirez, 50, has some in and around the Police Department calling for a renewed investigation into whether he was traveling for years to Southeast Asia for sexual tourism -- a name given to the crime of traveling overseas to solicit children for sex.
On the evening of Oct. 31, police Sgt. Neville Gittens confirmed that Ramirez, a 25-year veteran of the force, had killed himself days earlier in a jail cell in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Local authorities had apparently arrested Ramirez for sexual activity with a 14-year girl.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today that Ramirez had been under investigation since 2001 when the San Francisco Police Department reported his suspicious travels.
According to Virginia Kice, immigration officials searched Ramirez as he came into the country several times but they never found any evidence of a crime.
"We have received several new leads and we will pursue those vigorously," Kice said.
Police Chief Heather Fong addressed questions today about a renewed investigation into Ramirez's past and whether anyone in the department knew whether or not he traveled to Southeast Asia for sexual tourism.
"As the federal investigation moves forward, and there's information, the department will take any necessary steps," Fong said. "If people had factual information then that is a problem. We are law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect the public and to enforce the law, so if someone is aware of criminal activity and they choose not to do anything about it, that is a problem."
Police commissioner Joe Veronese said last week of the investigation that "there was no greater issue in the department than this." The police commission, however, has yet to announce if it will take up the issue.
Other police organizations are staying away from any involvement in the incident.
"Whatever he does in his off-duty time is his matter," Police Officers Association Vice President Kevin Martin said. "This is not a POA issue."
- Photos: Tornado rips through Oklahoma City area
- Apple's Cook faces Senate questions on taxes
- Oakland looks to give micro-loans to small businesses
- Bay Area fire captain among team sent to Oklahoma
- Search continues for man after Bay to Breakers
- Senate panel approves immigration bill
- Photos: San Jose Sharks fan pics!
- abcnews: Hero teacher covered students with body
- roundup: SF bank robbery; Search for survivors
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Wednesday