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Cunningham-sponsored bill would prevent police from using threat of arrest to commit sexual assault

Posted at 11:31 PM, Mar 12, 2019

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham is trying to pass a bill that would prevent law enforcement officers from using their power to commit a sexual assault.

It comes after a woman claimed former Paso Robles police sergeant Christopher McGuire sexually assaulted her multiple times and that the city knew about it, but did nothing to stop it.

The DA’s office began reviewing the sexual assault claims against McGuire in August of 2018 but ultimately decided not to file charges against him.

Assemblyman Cunningham says this case motivated him to introduce AB 1599.

“Believe it or not, right now that is not the law,” said Assemblyman Cunningham. “I can see why the DA had some trouble with deciding what law was violated with this circumstance.”

The new bill would make it illegal for a law enforcement officer, or anyone pretending to be one, to threaten arrest to commit a sexual assault.

If passed, the bill “would make it a crime for a person to cause another person to touch an intimate part of either of those persons or a 3rd person for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, by threatening to use their authority to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another person, if the touching is against the will of the victim and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official, as defined.”

KSBY learned Tuesday, that woman filed a claim for damages against the city of Paso Robles.

McGuire resigned in October.

In a recent claim filed in February, the woman says it all happened in 2017 after police responded to her home and arrested her then-boyfriend on suspicion of rape and false imprisonment.

The woman says after the other officers left, McGuire stayed behind, got her alone and forced her to touch him in a sexual way.

“She was actually a victim of domestic abuse and officer McGuire preyed upon her at her most vulnerable time,” said the woman’s attorney, Brian Claypool of Claypool Law Firm.

The woman says McGuire returned to her home a couple of days later and raped her.

Over the course of the next four months, she says McGuire assaulted and harassed her while on patrol.

Now Claypool says the city is at fault for not doing more.

”We also need to bring about change in the hiring, training, and supervision of police officers not only in Paso Robles but in the nation,” said Claypool.

According to the claim “the 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 the claimant.”

Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis says he found out about the claim Monday night.

“We have nothing to hide, we have nothing to cover up, whatever the facts reveal that’s going to come out and we will deal with them as a department and community,” said Chief Lewis.

Chief Lewis says the claim was forwarded to the city’s attorney for review.

According to Claypool, with these claims, the government agency has 45 days to respond.

After the 45 days, the filing party can then file a lawsuit.

Claypool says they intend to sue the city for millions of dollars.

You can find the full claim here.