SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON/CNN) - A California prosecutor may be facing charges or disciplinary action after authorities say he used his teenager daughter as bait to catch a man accused of molesting her.
The Santa Clara County prosecutor, who hasn’t been named to protect his daughter’s identity, “crossed the line,” according to LaDoris Cordell, a retired Superior Court judge and former independent San Jose Police auditor.
"The prosecutor crossed the line. The prosecutor became the law enforcement person by taking into his own hands the investigation into the alleged molestation of his 13-year-old daughter,” Cordell said.
Police arrested 76-year-old Ali Lajmiri on Nov. 12. He faces charges of lewd and lascivious conduct and false imprisonment.
Evidence in the case includes a video clandestinely shot by the prosecutor after he allegedly used his 13-year-old daughter as bait to get Lajmiri to inappropriately touch her.
Lajmiri is alleged to have victimized the teenager three time previously.
Dr. Thomas Plant, who teaches psychology at Santa Clara University, says this was a risky ploy.
"The issues we could be very concerned about is re-traumatizing a girl who’s probably already been traumatized, given that she was apparently approached earlier by the same fellow, and secondly, why he didn’t go to law enforcement or others to try to figure out: ‘OK, how can we best handle this?’” he said.
Cordell says the prosecutor’s actions may have also jeopardized the case against Lajmiri.
"Question: Will this video tape be admissible in court? I mean, he's the one that took the video. He did it. He's a percipient witness in a way. But how willing is the prosecution going to be to allow this video to be utilized?” she said.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office is conducting an internal review.
“As prosecutors, we must never forget that our own behavior – inside and outside of the courtroom – matters. The choices we make in our professional and personal lives need to be in harmony with the protocols, laws and ethics of our criminal justice system,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a statement.
Because of possible conflict of interest, the case is being sent to the state Attorney General’s office. They’ll be the ones to make the call about whether the prosecutor will face child endangerment charges or disciplinary action.