San Jose police officer exposed himself to family, masturbated during call, prosecutors say
A San Jose police officer has been charged with indecent exposure after authorities say he masturbated inside a home while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Matthew Dominguez, 32, was arrested Thursday and charged with one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.
Prosecutors say Dominguez and two other officers responded to a home on April 21 after receiving a call that a mentally ill family member was being violent. A husband and wife, along with their adult daughter, had called about a restraining order violation by their son. The son, who was not identified, had been at the home, had removed a GPS tracking device and then left.
According to the district attorney's office, Dominguez "took interest" in the 23-year-old daughter and "continued to interact almost exclusively with her." When the woman gave Dominguez a possible location for her brother, he directed his fellow officers out of the house to try to find him.
About 40 minutes into the investigation, the woman and her mother saw Dominguez unzip his pants and rub his crotch as he interacted with them, according to a release from the district attorney's office.
The officer then followed the woman, who had been directed into the kitchen by her mother, and the two saw Dominguez’s penis outside his pants, "fully exposed," prosecutors said.
They promptly left the house to report the behavior to the father and an uncle, who was nearby. When the father ran into the house, authorities say he saw Dominguez "facing out of the kitchen with his erect penis in his left hand and his right hand on the counter."
The two male members of the family subsequently reported the incident to other officers at the scene.
Dominguez, who has been with the San Jose Police Department for four years, has been placed on administrative leave.
San Jose police Chief Anthony Mata said in a statement that "any conduct similar to what has been alleged will result in termination as quickly as the system allows me to do so. It will also include criminal prosecution and decertification as a police officer.
"I will not make excuses for criminal conduct from a police officer," Mata said. "We are and should be held to the highest standards. That is what the public expects of us and what I expect of the men and women who serve and protect San Jose."
On Thursday, Mata escorted Dominguez from the Police Department.
"Last week, I said that when an officer violated the public's trust or engages in criminal conduct, I would personally walk that officer out the door. Today I did it."
San Jose Police Officers Assn. President Sean Pritchard called the behavior "inexcusable, appalling and repugnant," noting that the charges against Dominguez are a "strong repudiation of this individual’s actions."
"Our department leadership must take a clear-eyed look at our current hiring and backgrounding process and procedures to ensure we are weeding out any applicant incapable of adhering to the strong moral and ethical standards our residents deserve from their police officers,” Pritchard said in a statement to The Times.
If convicted, Dominguez faces a year in jail and placement on the sexual offender's list for 10 years.
This incident comes amid an ongoing investigation into another San Jose police officer who was reportedly drunk while responding to the scene of a kidnapping earlier this month.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.