A former San Diego County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Friday to 20 felony and misdemeanor charges involving sex acts with underage girls, as well as attempts to meet up with minors for sexual purposes.
Jaylen Devon Fleer, 27, formerly a member of the sheriff's jail and court-services unit, was arrested last year following a nearly four-month investigation.
The case came to light in April 2020, when San Diego County Crime Stoppers received tips regarding an unidentified man who had engaged in sex acts with a juvenile, according to Chula Vista police.
"Investigators were able to identify the suspect and also determine that there were two additional underage victims,'' Chula Vista police Lt. Dan Peak said at the time of Fleer's arrest, adding that the offenses had no connection to Fleer's employment.
The ensuing criminal complaint referenced a fourth victim, with all charged acts occurring between March 27 and April 8 of last year.
Prosecutors said the victims, identified as Jane Does 1 through 4 in the complaint, did not know one another. How Fleer met the victims has not been disclosed.
Fleer remains out of custody pending his June 18 sentencing in a Chula Vista courtroom.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Popkins said Fleer is expected to face between 10 and 12 years in state prison. However, should the prosecution seek a longer sentence and persuade the judge that more than 12 years is warranted, Fleer would have the right to withdraw his guilty plea, Popkins said.
"While Mr. Fleer first privately accepted responsibility for his improper actions quite
some time ago, today was the first step toward publicly apologizing to his
friends and family, to law enforcement and, most of all, to the victims and
their families," Fleer's attorney, David P. Shapiro, said in a statement, "Jaylen hopes today's guilty pleas provide at least some relief to all those involved, knowing the victims will not have to publicly come forward and testify at a preliminary hearing and/or at trial.''
During the investigation, Fleer, who had been with the sheriff's department for just over five years, was removed from a post at San Diego Central Jail and placed on desk duty, the agency reported. He had no on-duty contact with the public after being reassigned.
"Even though the allegation(s) had nothing to do with Fleer's duties as a deputy, they were so serious that all peace-officer authority was taken away from him,'' according to a department statement. "The sheriff's department takes allegations of illegal activity by its employees very seriously. We hold all our deputies to the highest standards and will hold deputies who violate the law accountable.''
Fleer's official termination date was last July 29, the date he was