VISTA (CNS) - A 64-year-old woman testified Wednesday that a sheriff's deputy who responded to her early morning 911 call hugged her three times, grabbed her buttocks and put her hand on his crotch while he was in her San Marcos home.
Debra A. was the first witness in a preliminary hearing for Richard Timothy Fischer, who is accused of groping 13 women while on duty between 2015 and 2017.
The woman, who lives with her two adult children, testified that she called 911 after an argument with her boyfriend in which he threatened to drive his car through her garage door.
When Fischer responded, he hugged her and asked her if there was anyone else home and whether she had a security camera, the witness testified.
"I was getting very scared of what he (Fischer) might be doing," she said.
While inside the home, Fischer asked if there was somewhere else they could go, so they stepped outside and came back in, Debra testified.
She said Fischer hugged her again -- this time tighter -- and held her buttocks, and it was awkward.
"He said his name was Ricky," the woman testified. "He was making me feel weird."
She said Fischer hugged her for a third time as he prepared to leave, moving her hand onto his crotch.
"I said, What are you doing?" the witness testified. "I was in shock. I just pulled away."
She said Fischer had asked her not to tell anybody what had happened. As he left, the defendant said he'd be in the area and would keep an eye out for her.
The next day, Debra said she told her children about her encounter with Fischer and later talked to her estranged husband about it.
Six weeks later, she said she saw a television news report accusing Fischer of groping another woman and called the Sheriff's Department.
Fischer, 32, surrendered to authorities in late February before his arraignment on 14 charges, including assault and battery by an officer, sexual battery and false imprisonment, for allegedly fondling women during pat-downs or rubbing their hands against his genitals.
Fischer was placed on paid administrative leave when the first allegations against him came to light. The six-year veteran was removed from paid-leave status in January and faces 14 years in prison if convicted.
All of the alleged victims are expected to testify during the preliminary hearing, which is expected to last a week. When it's over, Judge Daniel Goldstein will determine whether enough evidence was presented to order Fischer to stand trial.
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