Two suspects. Both accused of sexually victimizing a child. The Burbank Police Department chose to release the mug shot of one suspect — while refusing to do so in the second case. Did the BPD apply its policy fairly? I don’t think so.
Here are the details. The male suspect is 35-year-old Manuel Retana. He was arrested last Tuesday, September 7, and accused of “using his forearm” to brush up against the breast of an 11-year-old girl on a bus.
In a Burbank court last Thursday, Retana pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act on a child. Retana had been held on $100,00 bail, but was released on his own recognizance, according to an article on the Burbank Leader website.
Retana’s mug shot has been given out to the media, along with a request for more information on the suspect and for any other alleged victims to contact the BPD.
Now the second case involves a female suspect and former teacher at David Starr Jordan Middle School in Burbank. Oh, and the wife of a Los Angeles Police officer.
Last March, Amy Beck shocked a lot of folks when she turned herself into Burbank Police, admitting to having a sexual affair over several months, with a 14-year-old student. Beck and her attorney claimed the 33-year-old mother of three was overcome with guilt and decided to fess-up to the crime.
I requested Beck’s booking photo and was turned down by the BPD at least twice. I first reported this in a blog post on March 11. The reason: the BPD did not consider Beck “… a danger to the community.” Hmm. You might remember, Beck was originally charged with four counts of unlawful sex with a minor and one count of oral copulation. Beck reportedly volunteered to stay behind bars rather than attempt to post the $175,000 bail.
Thanks to a special deal, Beck was allowed to plead no contest to charges of unlawful sex with a minor and committing a lewd act on a child. In May, the former Burbank teacher was sentenced to two years in state prison. Also, Beck is required to register as a sex offender. Despite the seriousness of this crime, BPD did not put out a public request for more information on the Beck case nor ask for any other possible victims to come forward.
This is a strange policy being carried out by the BPD. On the surface, it appears to be a double standard, or discriminatory, or worse, racist. Since both cases occurred on Police Chief Scott LaChasse’s watch, he can’t blame the administration of his predecessor. LaChasse has some explaining to do.