A former undercover officer accused of tipping off a prostitute to planned law enforcement activity and interfering with police investigations in Maryland was sentenced to one year of probation Friday.
William E. Diaz, 37, was a member of the Prince George’s County gang unit when he had sex with prostitutes and alerted one woman on at least two occasions to when police would be in her area, according to prosecutors.
Diaz pleaded guilty in October to misconduct in office and conspiracy to commit prostitution.
At his sentencing hearing in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, Diaz said he engaged in the misconduct because the hours on the job were taking a toll on his life and he was “in need of attention” at home.
“I veered off the straight-and-narrow path and I’m paying for my consequences,” said Diaz, who has since left the police department.
Judge Herman C. Dawson also ordered Diaz to perform 150 hours of community service, 100 hours more than what was recommended in the plea agreement struck by prosecutors and Diaz’s attorney, Christina Caron-Moroney.
Assistant State’s Attorney Doyle L. Niemann had asked that Diaz spend at least some weekends in jail due to the serious nature of the case but the judge said his hands were tied, given the demands of the plea agreement and state sentencing guidelines.
Diaz’s actions “went fundamentally against an oath he has taken and his duty as a police officer,” Niemann said.
Text messages from Diaz’s phone showed he asked a woman in March 2016 about where she was working that week, according to prosecutors. She sent an address and he responded in Spanish, “Well, they’ll be in the area,” according to prosecutors during Diaz’s plea hearing in October. A similar exchange had occurred earlier that month, prosecutors said.
Diaz’s actions interfered with police investigations, allowed targets to evade capture and created a “significant risk for danger to the officers involved in those investigations,” prosecutors said.
Caron-Moroney said her client has already faced heavy consequences from his arrest, which upended his 10-year police career and has jeopardized his marriage.
Though Diaz was a police officer and is held to a higher standard, Caron-Moroney said “he is human, and all humans make mistakes.”
“He was put in a position of temptation when he was in a bad point in his marriage,” Caron-Moroney said.
Diaz was charged in 2017 after the police department learned of the case and brought the allegations to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
Lynh Bui, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/sent-undercover-to-investigate-prostitutes-he-was-tipping-them-off-to-police-activity-instead-prosecutors-say/2018/04/27/ccec6bde-4a3b-11e8-9072-f6d4bc32f223_story.html?utm_term=.b990757cd875, Washington Post, “Sent undercover to investigate Maryland prostitutes, he was tipping them off to police activity instead, prosecutors say”,