Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Sheriff’s Deputy Facing 14 Criminal Charges In Sexual Misconduct Case; Bail Set At $100,000

San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Fischer is escorted in handcuffs fr...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Fischer is escorted in handcuffs from his arraignment at the San Diego Superior Court in Vista, Feb. 22, 2018.

After a months-long sexual misconduct investigation, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer surrendered to authorities Thursday and is facing 14 criminal charges, eight of them felonies. Fischer pleaded not guilty. His bail was set at $100,000.

Fischer is facing sexual battery, assault and battery by officer and false imprisonment charges.

RELATED: San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy Accusers Describe Sexual Misconduct Allegations

At the arraignment Thursday, interim District Attorney Summer Stephan said there are 12 victims, who ranged in age from late 20s to late 60s. Stephan said the alleged crimes occurred while Fischer was on duty, for over two and a half years between May 2015 and October 2017. The judge granted restraining orders to the 12 women.

During a press conference after the arraignment, Stephan said that “some of these women were under arrest when these sexually-based assaults happened. Others were vulnerable women calling 911 to get help with domestic violence situations or residential burglary when they encountered Fischer’s advances.”

Photo by Andrew Bowen

District Attorney Summer Stephan speaks at a press conference, Feb. 22, 2018.

“Again this reinforces that crimes of this nature are not about the victim. They are about the offender and the assertion of power and control,” Summers added.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore stated that his department worked closely with the DA’s Office and her staff, dedicating significant resources to the investigation.

“Our department does not and will not tolerate actions, such as those, allegedly perpetrated by Richard Fischer,” Sheriff Gore said during the press conference.

“When any deputy conducts himself in an inappropriate manner, it affects not only every deputy in the sheriff’s department but also every peace officer in this country and across the country. That's why we take them so seriously because depend on that trust between the public that we serve and law enforcement.”

The County Sheriff's Department opened a criminal probe last year into allegations that the deputy behaved in a sexually inappropriate way with women during arrests, welfare checks and a burglary investigation. Fischer was placed on administrative leave when the first allegations against him came to light last October. The six-year veteran was removed from paid-leave status in January.

Some women claim he fondled them during pat-downs. One said he put her "hand on his crotch and rubbed it a couple of times."

RELATED: San Diego County Sheriff Gore: ‘Expeditiously’ Investigating Sexual-Misconduct Claims Against Deputy

Dan Gilleon, the attorney representing the alleged victims, said he is pleased the district attorney filed charges for 12 of his 14 clients. His main concern now, he said, is that Fischer pleads guilty to the "actual charges that he committed, not to these lesser charges that let him kind of walk away from this and without having to register as a sex offender."

"I just think it's not the right thing for society to let people who should be registered as sex offenders get a good deal like that simply because they are cops," Gilleon said.

The district attorney asks if there are any other victims out there that they come forward and call 619-531-3965.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.