San Diego

18th Woman Accuses Sheriff's Deputy of Sexual Misconduct

The latest woman claims Deputy Richard Fischer groped her while her 12-year-old daughter was in another room

A San Diego County Sheriff's deputy used his position as a uniformed officer to take advantage of a woman in a North County motel room while her 12-year-old daughter was nearby, the woman told NBC 7 Thursday.

She is the 18th woman to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against six-year SDSO veteran Richard Fischer, who is awaiting trial on charges stemming from incidents dating back to May 2015. 

"I’m broken towards him," the woman told NBC 7. "I am angry, very angry. The fact that my child — I had her with me, he didn’t even care."

The woman asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the incident. 

She told NBC 7 that last October, when sheriff's deputies responded to the woman's home for a domestic disturbance, Fischer suggested she and her daughter get a room at the Days Inn near the San Marcos sheriff’s substation so he could keep an eye on her.

The woman said he showed up at the motel, requested to come into her room and guided her into the bathroom to talk so her daughter couldn't hear.

That's when she said Fischer pulled his body against her, groped her up and down and told her how beautiful she was.

The woman said she was vulnerable at that time, having just gotten into an argument with her now ex-husband, and that she was paralyzed with fear.

"The thought of retaliating or even try to — he is a San Diego sheriff," she said. "How do you do that? And he is so much, way bigger than me. How do you do that? Who’s going to believe you? And I could only think of just protecting my daughter."

The woman's account is similar to another woman's, who last month presented her testimony at a preliminary hearing for Fischer and said he took advantage of her after offering to escort her home from an incident with an ex-boyfriend. 

Fischer is awaiting trial on charges of groping or touching more than a dozen women who had called 911 for help or were in custody, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

"As we see over time, it appears he is getting bolder with what he’s doing," the woman’s attorney Marlea Dell’anno said. "To do this while a 12-year-old is sleeping in the room is unbelievable."

Fischer was arrested and charged on Feb. 22. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all allegations.

Women say Fischer was in uniform and on duty when he inappropriately touched them in their homes or while they were in custody.

The DA's office said Fischer would return to victims' homes late at night after the call had been cleared from dispatch records and no other deputies were present.

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

Prosecutors said half of the victims had called the sheriff's department after they were victims of a crime. The other half of the victims were in custody and handcuffed when the alleged assaults occurred.

"These are simply allegations," Fischer's defense attorney Richard Pinckard told Judge David Danielson during his arraignment. "Mr. Fischer has a very strong desire to go through this process to clear his name."

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is not commenting on the latest allegations because the case against Fischer is ongoing.

Fischer was placed on paid administrative leave in October when the first accusation surfaced. After the criminal charges were filed, Fischer was placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal case, Sheriff Bill Gore said.

Four alleged victims have reached settlements with San Diego County in civil lawsuits.

Fischer is out on bail and on unpaid leave while the case against him moves forward. 

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