A criminal investigation has been launched into sexual allegations made against one current and two former members of the top brass at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a sheriff’s spokesman said on Saturday.
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed on Saturday that Joseph H. Stephen, Anthony Ward and Ronnie M. Williams were being investigated by the Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
“The sheriff takes these allegations very seriously,” Whitmore said. “He’s going to find out what did or did not happen.”
The allegations came to light in November by a female LA County Sheriff’s deputy, Whitmore said.
The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources, said that deputy faced her own allegations of misconduct. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony vandalism and misdemeanor battery and has been been placed on unpaid leave, The Times said.
The deputy, who Whitmore did not identify, is the daughter of a top aide to Sheriff Lee Baca, he said.
Despite reports that said Stephen was retiring, Whitmore said no decision has been made.
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In an interview with The Times, Stephen denied any wrongdoing.
Stephen is a 28-year veteran who works as a captain at the Malibu/Lost Hills Station. Stephen’s bio on the sheriff’s website said he is married to his wife of 19 years.
Ward was a captain heading up the department’s auto-theft unit until he recently retired.
Williams was a 34-year veteran of the department before he retired.