The City of Paso Robles is facing a claim for damages by a woman who claims she was raped by a former police sergeant, Christopher McGuire.
The administrative civil claim filed on behalf of the woman by attorney Brian Claypool is generally viewed as a precursor to a lawsuit.
According to the claim, a woman (KSBY is not naming the woman as she is a possible victim of rape) said McGuire sexually assaulted her after officers responded to her home and arrested her boyfriend on suspicion of rape and false imprisonment in December 2017.
The claim states McGuire returned a few days later in civilian clothes and sexually assaulted her again and then continued to harass her for several more months.
“This case is just profound,” Claypool told KSBY. “It’s one of the worst abuses of power. A police officer who is using his badge to manipulate, exploit, (get) sexual gratification from vulnerable women.”
The court-filed documents state city employees knew or should have known of McGuire’s criminal conduct. According to the claim, “City did nothing to intervene to investigate or stop McGuire’s conduct, which directly led to the multiple sexual assaults and harassment he perpetrated against Claimant.”
Former Sergeant McGuire was placed on leave in May 2018.
At the time, Police Chief Ty Lewis stated McGuire was accused of committing a “serious criminal act” and turned the case over to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office for investigation.
After the investigation was complete, the Sheriff’s Office reportedly sent the case to the DA with recommended sexual assault charges.
The San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office began reviewing the case in August against McGuire but in the end, declined to prosecute.
At a news conference on November 1, Dan Dow said that an investigation by his office concluded that “no reasonable and objective jury could find Mr. McGuire guilty of the alleged crimes.”
KSBY News and other local media outlets have requested the reports generated in this case under a new open records law in California. All official requests have been denied.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune obtained documents through a confidential source outlining the Sheriff’s Office report in December. Many of those details were outlined in the claim filed by Claypool against the city on February 22, 2019. (To read the Tribune’s report, click here.)
McGuire resigned during the first week of October 2018. He worked for the Porterville Police Department prior to gaining employment at the Paso Robles Police Department in 2012.
In Porterville, McGuire was cleared in an on-duty fatal shooting in 2009. Claypool represented the family of the man who was shot and killed in the incident.
The claim states discovery is ongoing and seeks damages far exceeding the $25,000 limited civil case maximum.
Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis told KSBY Tuesday he was unaware of the claim until Monday night and says he cannot share information on how the claim will be handled until it has been reviewed by legal counsel.
However, Lewis did say, “I would like the public to know (and I can’t emphasize enough) that the City of Paso Robles and all the members of the Paso Robles Police Department are committed to holding ourselves to the highest of standards; both ethically and legally. There is no room in our organization for those that violate our code of ethics or commit crimes against those we serve and protect. Having the safest community and being the most trusted police department anywhere is our vision. We have never, nor will we ever, tolerate an employee that destroys the trust we value so much. Without trust we would be rendered ineffective.”
KSBY also reached out to the City of Paso Robles for comment, but we were told we would need to file a public records request.
To read the full claim, click here.
“This is as bad as it’s ever gonna get,” Claypool said. “A sexual assault victim, a victim of domestic abuse, is then abused again by the investigating police officer. It can’t get any worse than that.”
He said it will “do the community a lot of good by bringing this lawsuit – transparency, facts, accountability.”
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