Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Page 1


Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Preying on Minors


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A Santa Clarita attorney convicted of using the Internet to solicit sex from teenage  girls has been ordered to serve nearly eight years of incarceration.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge  Melvin Sandvig Tuesday sentenced Arthur Crabtree, 45, a certified family law specialist and former Glendale police officer, to the maximum sentence of five years and eight months in state prison, followed by two years in county jail. The sentence was imposed Tuesday at the Chatsworth courthouse.

A jury convicted Crabtree of five felony counts, including attempted lewd acts on a child and trying to send harmful matter electronically. He also was convicted of five misdemeanor counts, including attempted child molestation and attempted child annoying.

Crabtree was arrested in early 2005 at a bus station, where he was met by undercover agents who had been posing online as a 13-year-old girl. Police said he had sent the bogus teenager $20 and a bus ticket and had several items with him, including a swimsuit and a condom.

Crabtree said he was planning a weekend getaway with his wife, a Glendale police sergeant. He also contended that he knew he was dealing with the police but wanted to taunt them.

Defense attorney Patrick Clancy told jurors that Crabtree was angry over the manner in which his police career ended. He resigned in 2001 amid charges that he and other officers had harassed female colleagues, allegations that resulted in discipline for others and in a judgment for more than $3.5 million against the city.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef, said Crabtree, who had previously posted $100,000 in bail, was taken into custody when the jury returned its verdict.

Crabtree has “a couple of grounds for appeal,” Clancy, who was substituted out of the case immediately following sentencing,  told The Associated Press. “I’ll give it to him if he wants to file it.”

Mokayef told the MetNews that the case involved five charged incidents, and that there was one real minor victim, a teenager who said Crabtree coaxed her into performing lewd acts.

Mokayef said that evidence of other incidents was introduced under Evidence Code Sec. 1108, which permits evidence of uncharged sex crimes to be introduced to show a disposition to commit such crimes. Part of that evidence stemmed from his conduct as a police officer, the prosecutor said.

According to a Pasadena Weekly account of the sexual harassment suit, female officers alleged that several male officers including Crabtree created pornographic Web sites, grabbed the plaintiff’s breasts, made lewd comments and suggested that the women would lose their jobs if they refused to date the men.

Crabtree was also chief executive of California Professional Realty in Santa Clarita. Having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, he faces disbarment.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company