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Former SD Assistant Sheriff takes stand in sexual harassment case against him

Richard Miller retired in 2018
Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 16:38:41-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Testimony continued in the civil trial of former San Diego Assistant Sheriff Richard Miller, accused of sexual harassment.

Miller, who has since retired, took the stand saying that before these allegations, he had never been accused of this type of harassment.

During testimony Wednesday, it was revealed three women accused Miller of inappropriate conduct. A supervisor for one of the women said Wednesday that Miller touched her bottom on two separate occasions. “She was very serious [and] credible,” the supervisor testified.

Miller said he retired voluntarily while the investigation was ongoing. He said the retirement was planned, prior to the accusations against him.

Miller is a pastor at a local church. He testified that he never got any feedback that his accuser was uncomfortable around him. He said they would greet each other in casual conversation and that interaction was “always pleasant.”

Team 10 first reported the allegations in 2018.In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court, a female Sheriff’s Department employee said Miller first inappropriately groped her in 2014. She claimed Miller stretched out his arms for a hug and she obliged.

“Assistant Sheriff Miller, however, took advantage of the moment (as no one else was around) and groped [her], sliding his left hand down her right side and onto her buttocks,” the lawsuit claimed.

The employee said she avoided Miller until 2017 where he again “stretched out his arms and moved towards [her] for a hug.” The lawsuit claims he patted her buttocks during the encounter.

The woman reported both incidents to the Internal Affairs Unit.

An internal investigation found Miller’s behavior was “conduct unbecoming,” but not sexual harassment.

“I did not feel we had enough evidence to conclude any kind of sexual harassment should be sustained,” said Captain Christina Bavencoff during testimony.

Miller's case is a bench trial, meaning the judge is hearing the case rather than a jury.

The Sheriff’s Department is also named in the lawsuit. Closing arguments are set for Thursday morning.