Former Phoenix police officer Justin LaClere resigns after sex investigation

PHOENIX - A Phoenix police officer has resigned after being arrested by Scottsdale detectives.

Scottsdale Police officials confirmed to ABC15 Officer Justin LaClere was taken into custody at his Gilbert home in connection with a sex crime investigation.

The investigation involves a sex act between LaClere and a 17-year-old Scottsdale girl.

In a statement to ABC15 from the Scottsdale Police Department, "LaClere admitted to his act and was booked on a count of Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation and one count of Sexual Conduct with a Minor."

Sources tell ABC15 LaClere went to the girl's home after she returned from school and as her parents left, he went inside the home for a short period of time.

A Phoenix Police Department spokesperson confirmed Officer Justin LaClere resigned Friday shortly after his arrest.

LaClere had been an officer with the Phoenix Police Department for seven years and is currently out of jail with a court appearance scheduled for Friday.

It appears it's not the first time LaClere has made headlines.

Neighbors say in 2008 LaClere was at the center of a neighborhood dispute in north Phoenix involving a cat stuck in his backyard tree.

The owner of the cat, who lived next door to LaClere, tried for days to rescue his cat without success claiming the police officer wouldn't help.

The unusual dispute over the cat stuck in the tree made national news and led to the police department coming to his aid to clear misconceptions and end the dispute.

Eventually, six Phoenix police officers used a ladder to rescue the cat in the officer's backyard and end the nearly week-long dispute, according to the neighbor.

Scottsdale police said LaClere and the 17-year old had conversed through social media.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC 15 it appears LaClere may have taken photos of himself while on duty and sent those photos to the 17-year old.

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