The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office is considering whether to file charges against a deputy who undertook to protect a woman from an abusive husband but then pressured her to have sex.
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, she told the Los Angeles Times. This time, a deputy in the front office said he would help.
The deputy 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, The Times 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.
The deputy, Josh Clark, was suspended from duty and is now under criminal investigation tied to the woman’s claim of sexual battery, according to The Times. 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, told the newspaper.
Capt. Darren Harris, a sheriff’s spokesman, told The Times 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 times reported.
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.