San Diego County sheriff's deputy accused of sexual misconduct pleads not guilty

Posted at 12:03 PM, Feb 22, 2018

"The Sheriff's Department has worked closely with the District Attorney and her staff throughout this process. We have dedicated significant resources to the investigation of these cases to ensure the findings were both objective and thorough.Our Department does not and will not tolerate actions such as those allegedly perpetrated by Richard Fischer. His payroll status was modified from paid administrative leave to unpaid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.We have the utmost confidence in the criminal justice system and we will continue to coordinate with and support the District Attorney's Office as these cases move through the judicial process."

Fischer's attorney Rick Pinckard also released the following statement after the arraignment: 

"Richard Fischer has dedicated his entire adult life to public service. He has served his country as a decorated United States Marine and he has served his communities as a police officer and a deputy sheriff. These allegations are wholly inconsistent with who Mr Fischer is. He categorically denies each of the allegations and looks forward to clearing his name. He has the full support of his family and everyone else who knows and loves him."

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego County sheriff's deputy facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday afternoon in Vista on criminal charges, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. 

A complaint filed against Fischer shows charges that include 12 counts of assault and battery by an officer, one count of sexual battery and one count of false imprisonment.

Deputy Richard Fischer has been accused by several women of inappropriate behavior, with the first allegation coming to light in early November 2017 when a woman filed a $6 million claim against the department.

In the claim regarding an Aug. 20 incident, Fischer allegedly "told the woman he thought she was cute, hugged her for 10 seconds without consent and then rubbed his hands down her torso, shoulders, arms, back and buttocks. After the hug, he told her again he thought she was good looking, then hugged her again; the woman resisted more aggressively the second time."

In response to the claim, sheriff's officials said Fischer was placed on "administrative assignment."

Since the initial claim, more than a dozen other women have come forward, accusing Fischer of groping or fondling them or making unwanted advances.

At least six claims and lawsuits have been filed in the case. Fischer is being held on $100,000 bail. 

One of those women told 10News after the hearing that it was "tough, really tough, nerve-wracking" to sit in the courtroom.  She added, "He absolutely is a predator; no ifs, ands, or buts.  I really feel he methodically and strategically planned the process out."

Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Summer Stephan spoke on Fischer's case following the 1:30 p.m. arraignment.

Watch the news conference in the player below:

Following the arraignment, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department released the following statement: