The San Diego County sheriff’s deputy facing multiple charges of assault and battery under the color of authority said he prays his name will be exonerated when he appeared Thursday on the courthouse steps with his wife and his defense attorney.
"These charges are simply untrue. They are false," Deputy Richard Fischer said. "These false allegations are extremely hurtful and disheartening."
Nineteen women have accused Fischer of sexual misconduct with the most recent complaint filed just last week.
He was arrested and charged on Feb. 22. He pleaded not guilty and has been ordered to stand trial on 15 criminal counts that include assault and battery under the color of authority. The alleged incidents happened between 2015 and 2017.
Fischer is now awaiting trial on charges of groping or touching women who had called 911 for help or were in custody, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.
"Every night, my wife and I pray that my good name will be cleared and exonerated," Fischer said.
Half of Fischer's alleged victims had called the sheriff's department after they were victims of a crime, prosecutors said.
The deputy would return to victims' homes late at night after the call had been cleared from dispatch records and no other deputies were present, prosecutors said.
Manny Medrano, Fischer's defense attorney, has said his client “vigorously denies” the allegations and will “zealously challenge them” in court.
“There’s no audio tape, there’s no videotape,” Medrano said Thursday. “There’s no corroborating evidence in this case.”
However, when the attorney was reminded of text messages and vehicle tracking information presented at a pretrial hearing, Medrano said it was not proof of assault under the color of authority.
Medrano said his team is conducting its own investigation and are unearthing credibility problems with the women who have filed complaints regarding his client.
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.
Fischer said the allegations are contrary to his personal and professional background which includes eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserves and eight years as a police officer and sheriff's deputy.
He grew up in Walnut, east of Los Angeles near Diamond Bar and Pomona.
Fischer worked as a civil affairs specialist during his time in the Marine Corps Reserve from 2005 to 2013. He told NBC 7 he was involved in gathering intelligence while deployed in Afghanistan.
He first started as an officer with the Southgate Police Department in 2008. He joined the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in 2011.
He said he completed the SDSO's required sexual awareness training courses.
Immediately after the deputy's statement to the media, one of the accusers and her attorney talked about the defense attorney's warning about investigating the complaints.
“Once again Deputy Fischer is standing up, trying to use his badge and now his marriage and his career as a veteran to defend the most despicable, disgusting behavior that I’ve ever personally witnessed in my career,” said attorney Marlea Dell’Anno who, with attorney Dan Gilleon, represents Fischer's accusers.
“He targeted people who were either situationally vulnerable or vulnerable in some other way for the very reason that he knew that no one would believe his word against theirs,” she 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.
His attorney said they expect the DA's office to offer a plea deal but, Medrano said, he will only accept it if it's in the best interest of his client.