Last month, we told you about Denver Police Detective Michael Ryan, who was busted in Lakewood after being caught in a car with a prostitute who was apparently on the verge of performing oral sex on him. But this episode isn't an isolated incident.
Officer Stephanie Southard has now been fired for allegedly having sex 25-30 times while on-duty -- an assertion she's appealing. And at least two other Denver cops have been disciplined for sexual matters over the past couple of months.
On April 10, as we've reported, Ryan and a 49-year-old woman described as a known prostitute were found together in a car parked near the intersection of West Colfax and Ingalls. Ryan, a seventeen-year-veteran of the DPD whose duties included the investigation of prostitution cases, is said to have had his belt and pants unbuckled, while the woman was bent over the car's center console.
Ryan wasn't immediately charged with a crime after being cited by Lakewood cops. Why not?
"Our people indicated in their reports that once Michael Ryan was released, it was only pending charges," Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis said last month in a Westword interview. "They wanted to talk to our special-investigations unit, and they also knew the case was going to involve two law-enforcement agencies. I think they had every intention of speaking to superior officers in our department as well as the Denver Police Department as to how this was going to shake out. There were some unusual circumstances about the whole contact, so I think they were being very cautious about how they did it."
Davis added that "a summons can be issued up to eighteen months later in a misdemeanor, so they knew they had plenty of time to do it right and make sure both departments had everything in order before charges were brought against him... They knew it was a case that was going to garner a lot of attention, so they wanted to make sure their ducks were in a row."
In the end, Ryan did receive a summons.
For his part, DPD Detective John White, a well-known figure in the community owing to his work as a public-information officer, received a suspension for his own sexual peccadilloes.
A former girlfriend reportedly accused White of having sex with her in his car while he was on the clock.
In the end, DPD investigators couldn't corroborate these assertions. However, there was no doubt about the presence of dubious photos on White's department-issued phone -- some 600 of them, many featuring nude shots.
He also used the phone to text things like "Nothing better than a nice hard round booty :-))" and "Gonna spank that little tushy :-))."
White was ultimately suspended for ten days without pay for misuse of his taxpayer-funded phone.
Prior to White's suspension, another member of the department got the same treatment for similar reasons.
Continue for more about Denver police officers disciplined for sex, including more photos and a video. Back in March, Detective Craig Miner was slapped for regularly rendezvousing with his mistress for sex at her apartment while supposedly fighting crime.
In a hidden-camera interview with CBS4's Brian Maass, the woman said Miner used to refer to their romps as "monkey business."
This business wound up costing Miner. He was suspended from the force for ten days.
The punishment was more severe for Officer Stephanie Southard, who's making her second appearance in the press for uncomfortable reasons. Back in November 2013, the Denver Post revealed that Southard had been charged with misdemeanor harassment owing to a June incident during which she's said to have socked another Denver cop, Nathan Sanchez, after he ended their affair.
An affidavit cited by the Post maintained that Southard walked up to the driver's side of his vehicle in a Glendale parking lot, and at the sight of his wedding ring, she "grabbed and hit Sanchez's face as he turned his head away," knocking off his glasses and leaving a scratch near his eyebrow in the process.
Southard denied these claims and was still on duty up until April 14, at which time she was fired for what CBS4 describes as "violating three department regulations including sexual misconduct and lying about having sex on duty."
Her partner in these escapades is said to have been Sanchez, who has resigned. He did so after apparently divulging that they'd had sex 25--30 times while on duty.
We don't know yet whether Southard's firing will stick or if she'll be reinstated. But there's no question that the DPD is getting an unwanted reputation for officers who seem at least as interested in booty calls as duty calls.
Here's the latest CBS4 report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa April 17: "Update: Cop Michael Ryan cited in apparent prostitute blowjob incident, delay explained."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.