Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer Accused of Sexual Assault By Dozens of Women
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA (April 23, 2023) – San Diego County has paid out over $8 million to settle dozens of lawsuits brought by women who claim that they were sexually assaulted by former Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer.
The settlements come after dozens of women have claimed that the former deputy sexually abused them between 2015 and 2017. According to one of the victims, Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer pulled her and her husband over.
She was arrested for allegedly having Vicodin pills without a prescription. Over the course of several hours, the deputy rubbed her breasts on numerous occasions with his hands and arms.
At one point, he also groped her backside during a hug. San Diego County eventually settled with her for $522,114. The county has been busy litigating 22 other cases. The lawsuits reference numerous other women who have accused the deputy of unwanted hugging, kissing and even forcing them to perform oral copulation.
Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer has since been arrested and was originally sentenced to 44 months in county jail. He pled guilty to assault charges including assault under the color of authority.
However, he was released in May of 2020 after he was credited with 956 days for time he spend during pre-trial home detention. Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer joined the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in 2011.
Liability For San Diego County Sexual Assaults By Police Officers
Sexual abuse at the hands of police officers is much more common than many people realize. According to one estimation by the Washington Post, a police officer is accused of sexual misconduct every five days in the United States. Bowling Green State University estimates that police officers across the United States were charged with rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013. There were another 605 instances of forcible touching. These are just a few of the rare attempts to collect data on this issue. There is no formal catalogue that details all instances when an officer was arrested for sexual abuse. Police departments should take a number of actions to reduce sexual abuse by their officers.
- All instances of sexual abuse by police officers should be thoroughly investigated.
- Police officers should receive training regarding what behaviors are not acceptable in their interactions with the public.
- Police officers should wear body cameras so that their interactions with people can be properly recorded.
It is a crime for any police officer to sexually assault a suspect under the color of law. According to California Penal Code 149, “Every public officer who, under color of authority, without lawful necessity, assaults or beats any person, is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both that fine and imprisonment.” Depending on the facts of any case, a police department could be liable for the wrongful actions of officers. In general, public entities in California are liable for the wrongful actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties.
Consider, for example, Mary M. v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 54 Cal. 3d 202, 209. This was a landmark decision where the Los Angeles Police Department was held vicariously liable for the sexual misconduct of an LAPD officer who sexually assaulted a citizen while he was on-duty. The court held that because police officers possessed the unique ability to detain citizens and touch them without consent, an abuse of that authority was foreseeable. Consequently, the LAPD should be held vicariously liable for damages caused by their officers. There are a number of steps that should be taken after instance of sexual misconduct by police.
- A police report of the incident should be created.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical record should be preserved.
- A sexual abuse attorney should be consulted.
Police officers have a great deal of authority, which is one of the reasons that sexual abuse and color of law assaults by officers are particularly disturbing. Any person that is sexually assaulted by a police officer may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, though, police departments will often fight hard to deny responsibility for misconduct of their officers. A sexual abuse attorney can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating San Diego County Sexual Assaults By Police Officers
We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the women who may have been harmed by Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer. The accusations against this officer are extremely disturbing. It is frankly astonishing that he managed to stay employed as long as he did. There needs to be some accountability on the part of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for what took place.
Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by a San Diego County police officer? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that abuse victims are aware of their rights and that their perpetrators are held to account for their actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after an assault we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.