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Hold SD Deputy Sheriff Richard Fischer accountable for Sexual Harassment of 13 Women

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I founded Heartfelt Voices United to bring awareness to the impact of violence against women in our society, and the consequences of ignoring the issue and silencing victims.  With the #MeToo Movement, it has become obvious that our communities have engaged too often in protecting the perpetrators of violence.  San Diego County is currently engaging in this behavior, which is why I have started this Petition, a Letter directed to San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephen.

Dear Sheriff Gore and Interim District Attorney Stephan;

We are writing to request that you put the safety of San Diego County’s women above the public relations interests of your departments, hold Deputy Sheriff Richard Fischer accountable for the reported sexual harassment and assault of at least 13 women, and place him on unpaid administrative leave during this investigation.

Sexual assault is a highly under-reported crime. In recent weeks, more women have come forward to report additional incidents of harassment and assault by Fischer, and it is likely there are additional  women who have not yet reported their  assaults to your offices.

 Fischer’s actions, and your delayed investigations, have undermined public confidence in the Sheriff’s  Department. Sheriff Gore was made aware of the first allegations against Deputy Fischer in May of 2016. Although he claims to have no record of this complaint, the victim maintained copies of her communication. This casts doubt on his response to the allegations and raises questions about how his office manages these complaints.

Moreover, there can be no ignoring that the complaints that began in October are absolutely reason enough to fire Richard Fischer immediately. It is an insult to the women and everyone who cares about them to see that Fischer is still receiving his taxpayer funded salary and benefits. You have more than enough evidence to arrest him, and to charge him with sexual battery as defined by the California penal code.

 For misdemeanor sexual battery, prosecutors need only make the case that the accused touched the victim’s intimate parts against the will of the victim, and that the unwanted touching was for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse.

 We know Richard Fischer touched many women against their will.

Given the statements of the victims, that Fischer made comments such as, “I hope your husband doesn’t mind,” and asking that the victim not share their encounter with others, we also know that he did it for the purpose of sexual gratification and  he knew it was wrong.

 To raise the charges to felony level, the victim must have been restrained or the accused gained access to the victim through fraud.

 Given that a few of the victims were in his police cruiser at the time of the abuse, (restrained), and that he gained access to others by pretending to be on official police duty, (fraud), it is completely feasible the accusations against him reach the felony level.

 Therefore, it is disingenuous that Sheriff Gore, on his media tour late last year to try to convince the public he is capable of doing his job, repeatedly stated that the alleged crimes were only a misdemeanor. It was very disturbing that on an interview with KUSI, he suggested the victims are lying by stating: “people have come forward in the last two months with allegations when they have read other womens' allegations,” as if the victims are playing a game of sexual assault copycat. We ask that this disrespectful and dishonest set of talking points halt immediately.

 Since both Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Stephan seem to be  having so many issues seeking justice -- particularly vexing given Ms. Stephan’s history of leading the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division and her constant assurances to the public that she is victim-centered and takes public integrity seriously.  We remind you that it is your sworn duty to protect the people of San Diego County.

 The women of San Diego County are not safe as long as Richard Fischer walks free. Our request is that the women in San Diego County receive the respect and accountability we deserve from your respective departments.

 Please do your jobs and protect women from sexual predators, especially those who wear a badge. Hold Deputy Sheriff Richard Fischer accountable for his sexual harassment and abuse.


Suzanne Morse

Founder, Heartfelt Voices United

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