San Diego

14 Women Allege Sexual Misconduct by San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy under internal and criminal investigation now faces allegations of sexual misconduct from 14 women.

In the newest claims filed with San Diego County on Jan. 31, Deputy Richard Fischer is accused of inappropriately cupping a woman's breast and touching her body while searching her and her van in 2016. 

In all 14 complaints that have been filed in the last three-and-a-half months, women say Fischer was in uniform and on duty when he inappropriately touched them in their homes or while they were in custody.

Several times the unwanted touching and questioning occurred minutes or even hours after other deputies had left the scene, the women claim.

Fischer was placed on paid administrative leave in October when the first accusation surfaced. 

San Diego County Sheriff's Department officials say the agency launched concurrent administrative and criminal investigations immediately. More than three months into the investigation, no criminal charges have been filed.

The most recent complaint stems from an incident in 2016 in El Cajon. At the time, the woman was living in her van and had parked legally on the side of the road after her car had broken down. Fisher pulled up along side her and asked if there was a problem, according to the complaint.

Fisher began to search her and during a search, the claim aleges, Fisher placed his whole hand on the woman's breast before moving his hands down her waist, buttocks and thigh.

Fisher then searched the woman's van and rifled through her undergarments while looking at her, the complaint states. He returned to her and searched her again, rubbing her breasts, back, buttocks and thighs for a second time. 

After the incident, he asked for her number, according to the claim. She gave him a fake number.

In a separate complaint filed with the county on Jan. 7, a Lakeside woman alleges Fischer and other deputies visited her home sometime in 2014 to investigate suspicious activity in a nearby building, 7. Over the next three years, the woman said Fischer visited her six to eight times and fondled her breasts, buttocks and other body parts, the complaint states. The most recent visit was in August 2017 when Fischer stopped by out of uniform because he was at a community event at the Lakeside substation near the woman's home.

This complaint accuses the deputy of exposing himself to the woman and sexual battery.  

A second complaint was filed Jan. 7 by an Escondido woman who called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 1, 2017 to report someone had broken into her home. When deputies arrived to the home, she said she told Deputy Fischer that her husband was out of town. The complaint alleges that Fischer approached the woman inside her home and asked her if she needed a hug. The woman said she responded, “I guess.” The deputy embraced the woman puller her chest into his, the complaint states. The woman said she did not want the deputy to hug her or touch her in any way.

Here are the details surrounding the previous claims and lawsuits filed against the county of San Diego. 

Lakeside, late February or early March 2016

A woman said she was standing in front of a 7-Eleven in Lakeside waiting for her boyfriend to give her a ride home. She had previously been cited for a misdemeanor by Deputy Fischer, according to the complaint. She said Fisher offered her a ride home in his patrol car. When she was in the backseat of the patrol car, the woman said Fischer intentionally touched her privates twice. At the time, the woman said Fischer told her, "I hope your boyfriend doesn't mind this." 

San Marcos, Nov. 4, 2016

On Dec. 12, a lawsuit was filed by a San Marcos woman alleging Deputy Fischer violated her civil rights at her home on Nov. 4, 2016. 

On that evening, the woman called 911 for help with a domestic violence incident involving her husband. Several San Diego County sheriff's deputies responded and arrested the woman's husband. After approximately an hour, the deputies left the woman's home.

Ten minutes later, Deputy Fischer knocked on the door, asked to come inside and speak to her privately, according to the lawsuit. 

Because the woman's adult son was now in the home, the woman and the deputy went into another room.

At that point, Fischer allegedly asked for a hug, hugged her tightly and caressed her " in a sexually suggestive manner," according to the lawsuit. The woman claimed the deputy ran his hands down her back from her shoulders to just above her buttocks.

She pulled away but he pulled her into a second hug.

She walked him to the front door. Minutes later, the lawsuit alleges that the deputy called her and told her “I’m down the street checking up on you.” 

San Marcos, Aug. 6, 2016 

A San Marcos woman filed a lawsuit on Dec. 6 alleging a violation of her civil rights in connection with an incident that occurred in her home.

The plaintiff called 911 on Aug. 6, 2016, because her home had been burglarized.

Deputy Fischer and another San Diego County sheriff's deputy investigated the crime and then left the home at approximately 6:30 p.m.

During the investigation, the woman had told the deputies that her husband was traveling out of the country at the time.

At 11 p.m., Fischer knocked on the front door and asked the woman if she was ok, according to the court document.

She told him she was still shaken up.

Then, Fischer stepped forward and gave the woman a “different kind of hug” according to the suit.

He then asked to use her bathroom.

Before leaving, the deputy allegedly told the woman he would be patrolling the area all night and was available if she needed anything then hugged her again.

“This time, when Fischer released her from the hug, [the woman] put both hands up to Fischer’s chest and pushed him away,” the lawsuit claims.

Lakeside, Jan. 3, 2016

A Lakeside woman filed a lawsuit on Dec. 6, alleging Deputy Fischer violated her civil rights during a traffic stop that took place on Jan. 3, 2016. 

The woman and her husband were stopped by Fischer after they left the Vine Liquor & Gas Store.

When her husband asked why they were stopped, the deputy said they had received a complaint about people selling drugs from a similar vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

The deputy was given permission to search the car and found prescription pills that were not in a marked container.

The woman was handcuffed and placed under arrest.

As Fischer was putting a seatbelt on the woman into the back of the patrol car, he allegedly rubbed her breasts up and down using the heel of his hand and the inner part of his arm, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Fischer said, “Oh, I hope your husband doesn’t mind.”

He allegedly repeated the action when he took off her seatbelt at the Lakeside station and again when he transported her to Las Colinas Jail.

At the jail, when the woman's blood pressure was very high, Fischer was advised to take the woman to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. 

Instead, the deputy allegedly took her back to the liquor store and parked in a dark area of Lemon Crest Drive and Julian Avenue.

At this point, Fischer told the woman he was not going to take her to jail but was going to give her a citation, the lawsuit states. He allegedly rubbed her breasts several times and then asked to give her a hug.

During the hug, the woman said Fischer rubbed her buttocks up and down.

When the woman was released, she said she ran home. 

Vista, May 3, 2017

A woman filed a claim with San Diego County on Dec. 5 alleging she was touched inappropriately by Deputy Fischer after she was pulled over for a missing taillight near W. Vista and Melrose.

The traffic stop occurred on May 3 and involved Deputy Fischer and a female deputy, according to the claim.

The deputies told the woman to fix her taillight and ended the traffic stop.

Then, about a quarter of a mile from home, the woman said she was pulled over for a second time with sirens. According to the woman, Deputy Fischer offered to escort her home to ensure she arrived safely.

At her home, the woman alleges Fischer asked for a hug and then hugged her. He told her she was attractive and followed her to her gate when the woman’s male landlord appeared, according to the claim.

The deputy got into his car but stayed at the home for awhile before leaving, the woman said.

Vista, June 18, 2017 

A claim filed against San Diego on Dec. 5 alleges Deputy Fischer grabbed a woman's body during a traffic stop on June 18.

The woman said she was pulled over at 1:30 a.m. for a taillight that was not working.

When Deputy Fischer learned her license was suspended, he asked her to step out of the vehicle, turn around and put her hands behind her back.

At this point, the woman claims Deputy Fischer interlocked his hand with hers and allegedly said, “I apologize if it seems like I’m holding your hands but you’re just so hot,” according to the claim.

She alleges Fischer used his other hand to rub on her privates and her buttocks while complimenting her physique.

He directed her to move her car to a nearby school.

The woman alleges Fischer asked her if she wanted to make out in the dark area of the parking lot, according to the lawsuit.

The woman declined.

The deputy left after receiving a radio call, the woman said. 

Escondido, May 9, 2017

An Escondido woman filed a claim with San Diego County on Nov. 29 alleging inappropriate conduct by Deputy Fischer.

According to the claim, the woman's daughter had just called the San Diego County Sheriff's Department on May 9 fearing her mother was going to harm herself.

The woman drove away from her home in her pajamas, driving at an excessive speed when she was pulled over by Deputy Fischer.

According to the claim, the woman was placed in handcuffs by Fischer and told to sit on a curb.

Fischer allegedly put his groin area about 10 inches away from the woman's face. He allegedly told the woman she didn’t look her age and then asked: “If I was older would you date me?”

The claim alleges that when the woman rejected his offer, she was transported to a mental facility where she was released within a few hours.

San Marcos, Oct. 6, 2017 

In a claim filed with San Diego County on Nov. 28, a woman claimed Deputy Fischer touched her inappropriately when he came to her home in uniform and in response to a call.

The woman called 911 on Oct. 6 to report a threat made by her boyfriend.

Deputy Fischer responded and entered her home. The claim alleges Fischer hugged the woman several times while walking into different rooms and asking the woman if she lived alone.

The woman claimed Fischer took her right hand and moved it to his erect penis and rubbed it up and down twice.

The woman pulled her hand away and asked the deputy to leave.

Fischer asked the woman not to tell anyone what happened, according to the claim.

San Marcos, Nov. 26, 2016 

A claim was filed with San Diego County on Nov. 27 by a San Marcos woman who said she was fondled by Deputy Fischer during a welfare check. 

She said the deputy entered her home at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, took off his coat and told her she was "hot" and that she needed a hug.

The complaint described an embrace "that included fondling of her buttocks with his hands and inappropriate massaging of her breasts with his own chest.”

When the deputy allegedly asked for a kiss, the woman said she refused and insisted he leave. 

The complaint claims the deputy told the woman “that he would be in the neighborhood watching out for her.”

El Cajon, Nov. 24, 2015

A lawsuit was filed on Nov. 22 by a woman who was stopped on 2nd Street in El Cajon in the early morning of Nov. 24, 2015, for not having a working license plate light. The suit alleges the vehicle's license plate light was working at the time. 

The woman, who was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges, said Fischer searched her three times - once during the stop, once at the Lakeside substation and a third time before putting her in his patrol car to transfer her to the jail at Las Colinas. 

While buckling her into the patrol car, the deputy told her, "It's a shame that we didn't meet under different circumstances," the lawsuit states.

Outside the entrance to the women's jail, the woman alleges that Fischer unbuckled her seatbelt and touched her breasts. 

She wrote a letter in March 2016 detailing the incident to the SDSO Internal Affairs, the lawsuit states. 

Undisclosed location, Aug. 20, 2017 

A claim filed with the county on Nov. 1 describes a welfare check that took place on Aug. 20. Two deputies were called by a father concerned about his adult daughter who has been diagnosed as bipolar. 

The welfare check ended with the two deputies leaving, satisfied that the woman was not experiencing any need of their help. 

However, the woman said Deputy Fischer returned an hour later at approximately 3 a.m. and identified himself to her as "Rick." 

She said he asked to use her bathroom and stayed in her home for up to 10 minutes, complimenting the woman and hugging her.

The complaint alleges the uniformed deputy began to hit on the woman by saying "I think you're cute" and then gave her "a 10-second hug, without her consent, during which his chest rubbed and embraced her breasts which were not supported by a bra." 

The complaint adds that Fischer fondled the woman's torso, shoulders, arms, back, and buttocks. 

The woman spoke with an SDSO lieutenant on Oct. 24 and detailed the incident, according to her attorney. 

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said there is no update to the statement the department gave NBC 7 on Nov. 3 following the initial allegation: 

"Deputy Fischer is currently on administrative leave while the Department conducts a thorough investigation of each complaint. The Department is prohibited by law from releasing specific details of personnel investigations. However, allegations of this nature are taken very seriously and the Department will take any appropriate actions at the conclusion of the investigation."

The criminal investigation into these allegations is being handled by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Neither the Department of Justice and the San Diego Police Department is investigating. 

Stubkjaer said the case was submitted to the San Diego County District Attorney's office for review in January.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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