VISTA, Calif. — A San Diego County sheriff's deputy that's been with the department for more than five years was arrested on felony child molestation charges on Wednesday, July 22.
The Chula Visa Police Department arrested 27-year-old Jaylen Fleer for 15 felony charges, including luring a minor for a sex offense and lewd acts with a child under 14.
The case came to light April 9, when San Diego County Crime Stoppers received tips regarding an unidentified man who allegedly had engaged in sex acts with a juvenile, according to CVPD Lt. Dan Peak said.
"Investigators were able to identify the suspect and also determine that there were two additional underage victims," the lieutenant said, adding that the alleged offenses "had no nexus to (Fleer's) employment."
During the investigation, Fleer was removed from a post at San Diego Central Jail and placed on desk duty, the agency reported. Since then, he has had no on-duty contact with the public, officials said.
In 2019, Fleer's total pay from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department including benefits totaled more than $116,000.
"He was approached by Internal Affairs investigators in early May and taken off duty from San Diego Central Jail," the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported on Wednesday morning.
Police said Fleer surrendered to investigators Wednesday afternoon. Because he had worked at the central jail downtown, he was moved to the Vista jail
"It hits close to home. It's not one of those things you often see in this community," said Christopher Edmondson, who went to Santana High School in Santee with Jaylen Fleer.
Fleer, who graduated in 2011, was a couple of grades above Edmondson, who knew him as a standout baseball pitcher, as well as a football player.
"He played sports... he was kind of one of the guys, " Edmondson added. "This is not something you would expect."
Edmondson said he and many of his classmates were stunned by the arrest, as well as the specific charges that Fleer is now facing.
"It's just a surprise, and [I feel] utter disgust really," Edmondson said.
He added that this case is all more unsettling because of Fleer's position as an officer of the law.
"You are supposed to be held to a higher standard," he told News 8. "It seems weird that we are allowing these kinds of people to get into positions of power."
Lieutenant Peak of the Chula Vista Police Department released the following statement on Thursday:
"On 07/22/2020, the Chula Vista Police Department arrested suspect, 27-year-old Jaylen Fleer on multiple charges that involve engaging in sex acts with underage minors. Fleer was also identified to be employed as a correctional deputy at the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. The investigation determined the crimes committed by Fleer had no nexus to his employment. The San Diego Sheriff’s Department cooperated and assisted with the investigation.
On 04/09/20, the Chula Vista Police Department received two anonymous Crime Stoppers tips regarding an unidentified adult male suspect, who engaged in sex acts with an underage victim. Investigators were able to identify the suspect and also determine that there were two additional underage victims.
Fleer surrendered to investigators yesterday afternoon and was processed at the Chula Vista Police Department for the following charges: 288 (c)(1) - pc - lewd & lascivious act w/child; 664/288 (c)(1) - pc - lewd & lascivious act w/child; 287 (b)(2) - pc - oral copulation w/ person under 16 years (f) (1 count); 288.2 (a)(2) - pc - harmful matter sent/ w/intent to seduce minor (f) (5 counts); 266 i (b) - pc - pandering: other person under 16 (f) (2 counts); 288.3 - pc - contact minor with intent sex (f) (3 counts); and 288.4 (b) - pc - arrange/go to meeting with minor (f) (4 counts). Fleer was later transported to the SDSO Vista detentions facility and booked into jail on the listed charges.
The Chula Vista Police Department would like to recognize Crime Stoppers for their role with assisting investigators identify Fleer. Anyone who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to please contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, or CVPD at 619-691-5151."
In response, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department released the following statement on Thursday:
"The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was made aware of a possible incident involving a Sheriff's Deputy. When it became appropriate to do so, the Department immediately placed Deputy Jaylen Fleer on administrative assignment. Even though the allegation had nothing to do with Fleer's duties as a deputy, they were so serious that all peace officer authority was taken away from him. Fleer began his employment with the Sheriff's Department in June 2015. His last assignment was at the San Diego Central Jail. Since being placed on administrative assignment, he has had no contact with the public.
From the beginning, the Sheriff's Department has fully cooperated with the Chula Vista Police Department. After a briefing on the status of the investigation late Wednesday afternoon (July 22nd), the Sheriff's Department began to move forward with its own internal affairs investigation. Personnel records of peace officers are confidential under Penal Code 832.7 and as such, the Sheriff's Department cannot comment on internal affair investigations relating to peace officers. Questions about the criminal investigation should be directed to the Chula Vista Police Department or the District Attorney's Office.
The Sheriff's Department takes allegations of illegal activity by its employees very seriously. We hold all our deputies to the highest standards and will hold deputies who violate the law accountable."
In Santee on Thursday, multiple cars were parked outside Fleer's townhome believed to be shared with his wife of less than one year.
As of Thursday, July 23, Fleer was in custody in Vista and being held without bail. Fleer's arraignment is scheduled for July 31.