Sheriff’s deputy under investigation for sexual misconduct

Sheriff's Deputy Under Investigation

SANTA CLARITA – The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office is considering whether to file charges against a deputy who allegedly said he would protect a woman from an abusive husband but then pressured her to have sex with him at his Palmdale home, a D.A.’s office spokesman said in comments reported Wednesday.

The mother of three said she walked into the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station on Dec. 12, 2016, desperate for protection from her ex-husband after she’d been turned away on previous occasions because she lacked proof that her former spouse violated a restraining order, according to the sources. This time, Deputy Josh Clark in the front office said he would help.

Clark wrote down his personal phone number and told the woman to call him the next time her ex-husband showed up at her house, she said. Soon, she and the deputy began a correspondence. She alleges that he repeatedly sent her lewd messages and pressured her to have sex under the pretense that he would provide law enforcement assistance, sources reported.

The woman said she finally gave in to Clark’s overtures by driving to his house in Palmdale and engaging in sexual conduct with him, believing he would help her. In the end, Clark didn’t provide any substantive law enforcement assistance, she said.

Clark was suspended from duty and is now under criminal investigation tied to the woman’s claim of sexual battery, according to sources. Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators presented findings to prosecutors in September. The District Attorney’s office is considering whether to file charges, Greg Risling, a spokesman for the agency.

Capt. Darren Harris, a sheriff’s spokesman, told sources that Clark has not been arrested. The deputy, a 12-year veteran of the department, has been on paid administrative leave since January 2017, Harris said.

Maureen Okwuosa, an attorney for Clark, said the deputy acknowledges knowing the woman but contends her allegations are “not truthful,” 

The woman’s claims are spelled out in a civil lawsuit she filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week against Clark and the Sheriff’s Department, alleging sexual battery and emotional distress. She also said the agency didn’t investigate and arrest her ex-husband until an employee at the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley heard about her experience and reported it to authorities.

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