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Six Women Accuse San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy Of Sexual Misconduct

The door of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in Kearny Mesa, Dec. 31...

Photo by Tarryn Mento

Above: The door of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in Kearny Mesa, Dec. 31, 2014.

Six Women Accuse San Diego Sheriff's Deputy Of Sexual Misconduct

GUEST:

Amita Sharma, investigative reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

At least six women have accused a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy of sexual misconduct.

The department has opened a criminal probe into allegations that Deputy Richard Fischer behaved in a sexually inappropriate way with women during arrests, welfare checks and a burglary investigation.

“Allegations of this nature are taken very seriously,” said sheriff’s department spokesman Ryan Keim. “The department will take any appropriate actions at the conclusion of the investigation.”

San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon said he represents six women, ranging in age from 28 to 64, who say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by Fischer.

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Complaint for Damages for Violation of Civil Rights

Complaint for Damages for Violation of Civil Ri...

This document is a complaint from K.P., a woman named in the lawsuit.

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But sheriff’s spokesman Keim said the law bars him from revealing how many women have complained to the department about Fischer.

“The department placed Deputy Fischer on an administrative assignment and initiated concurrent administrative and criminal investigations immediately upon learning of the first allegation which was received in late October 2017,” Keim wrote in an email to KPBS.

But one of Fischer’s accusers, identified in a lawsuit as K.P., said she first notified the sheriff’s department about Fischer in March 2016 but never heard back.

K.P. said Fischer ran his hands across her breast as he unbuckled her seatbelt after driving her to Las Colinas Jail. She alleges he had told her just moments earlier, “I hope I’m not making you uncomfortable ... if I accidentally cop a feel, it’s an accident.”

K.P. also alleged that Fischer subjected her to three body searches, each one progressively more invasive.

Another woman accused Fischer of fondling her and trying to kiss her during a welfare check following a 911 call seeking help for her mother who had suffered a stroke. The woman was also grieving for her father who had passed away two days earlier.

A third woman said Fischer groped her and put her hand on his crotch after she had placed a domestic violence call to the sheriff’s department.

A fourth woman said Fischer fondled her after arresting her. A fifth woman said the deputy visited her after investigating a burglary at her home and hugged her twice with both arms, squeezing her tightly and pulling her into his chest. A sixth woman accused Fischer of hugging her twice during a welfare check in a way she described as “grabby.”

K.P. said she is surprised Fischer has not yet been arrested considering how many women have accused him of misconduct

“If he was anybody else, he would’ve been arrested,” she said.

Her lawyer, Gilleon, said he’s not surprised.

“Everybody asks the police to police their own, but they don’t,” he said. “They protect their own.”

KPBS reached out to Fischer for comment but did not hear back.

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Photo of Amita Sharma

Amita Sharma
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs an investigative reporter for KPBS, I've helped expose political scandals and dug into intractable issues like sex trafficking. I've raised tough questions about how government treats foster kids. I've spotlighted the problem of pollution in poor neighborhoods. And I've chronicled corporate mistakes and how the public sometimes ends up paying for them.

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