CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A former San Diego County sheriff's deputy who pleaded guilty to 20 felony and misdemeanor charges involving sex acts with an underage girl, as well as attempts to meet up with minors for sexual purposes, was sentenced Friday to 12 years in state prison.
Jaylen Devon Fleer, 27, formerly a member of the sheriff's jail and court-services unit, was arrested last year following an investigation that revealed he had engaged in sex acts with a 14-year-old girl and contacted numerous other underage girls over social media with aims of meeting up for sex.
The case involved four victims between the ages of 12 and 14, but prosecutors allege Fleer contacted more than 40 others who described themselves as minors. Investigators were unable to track those people down to verify whether they were underage.
Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang said Fleer sought out young girls, offered them money in order to coax them into meeting with him, and encouraged the girls to arrange for their other young friends to meet him.
"He spread the net very wide," Wang said. "He really just tried to reach as many young girls as possible."
The prosecutor said the victims feared the potential repercussions upon discovering they had been talking with a law enforcement officer, as Fleer did not hide his profession and sent some of them pictures of himself in his uniform.
Fleer did not make a statement at his sentencing hearing, but his attorney, David Shapiro, asked for a term of just over nine years.
In doing so, Shapiro asked the court to take into account Fleer's guilty pleas to all charges filed against him prior to a preliminary hearing or trial, when the victims would be subjected to having to testify in open court. He also said Fleer voluntarily enrolled in a treatment program starting last spring "to begin what is going to be a long path to recovery and rehabilitation to ensure he never puts himself, and more importantly anyone else, in harm's way again."
The case came to light in April 2020, when San Diego County Crime Stoppers received tips regarding a 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, while adding the offenses had no relation 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.
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."