MARYSVILLE, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California police chief resigned after a newspaper revealed he is the subject of a sexual assault investigation involving a former police cadet.
Aaron Easton, the former police chief for Marysville, a town of 12,000 people 45 miles north of Sacramento, left his post Thursday, the city manager said in a statement.
City officials announced Easton's resignations hours after the Marysville Appeal Democrat published a story saying the Yuba County Sheriff's Office and the Yuba County District Attorney's Office are investigating Easton in the 2008 alleged sexual assault of a police cadet.
The woman, who was not identified, made the allegations last year while she was an inmate of the Sacramento County jail for failing to appear on a charge of misdemeanor driving, according to affidavits obtained by the Appeal Democrat.
The woman said Easton forced her to perform oral sex on him while they were on a ride-along as part of her police training. At the time, Easton was a part time instructor at the Yuba College Police Academy and a full-time sheriff's deputy.
She said she believed the sexual assault led to her dismissal from the academy and that it ruined her life.
Easton's attorney, Adam Gasner, said in a text message to the newspaper that his client categorically denies the allegations.
He "trusts that when this investigation is complete these allegations will be shown to be what they are: false and unfounded," Gasner said.
Details of the sexual assault allegations were explained in affidavits sworn by a Yuba County Sheriff's Department investigator as he sought cellphone and computer information that had been gathered in a probe of the 2015 death of Easton's wife, Sara Easton, the newspaper said.
The investigation into Easton's wife's death has not been concluded, and the Sutter County coroner has not yet determined a cause of death. The probe was turned over to the state Department of Justice, which wouldn't comment on that investigation, the newspaper reported.
Easton has been replaced by Police Lieutenant Christian Sachs effective immediately. Sachs is a 17-year veteran of the department.
City Manager Walter Munchheimer released the following statement regarding the replacement:
“The Marysville Police Department is a professional law enforcement organization with fine men and women dedicated to the safety and security of our city. The department is in no way implicated in either the allegations or the investigation into former chief Easton’s personal conduct. I cannot permit those personal difficulties to become a distraction from the department’s vital work, and I cannot have a part-time police chief. Mr. Easton needs to devote his full time and energies to resolving these personal matters facing him and his family.”
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