Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Former Deputy Mark Petrina Accused of Sexually Abusing several Young Girls

Five victims have accused Mark Petrina, a former Kern County Sheriff's deputy, of sexually abusing them at his house in Bakersfield. The police have also identified three other victims who say they were also sexually abused, but they wouldn't go on the record.

According to court documents, the eight victims said they were molested over a period of several months, and sometimes years, while they were young, and just beginning puberty. Two of those victims are now adult women, who say Petrina sexually abused them when they were young, more than 30 years ago.

The investigating detective called several of the alleged victims, and each girl told roughly the same story, that Petrina would molest them in his bed, by touching and fondling their private parts. One girl reported she remembered Petrina giving her toys after the molestations were over.

Petrina was recently extradited to Kern County from Aberdeen, Wash. The Bakersfield Police Department said Petrina moved there earlier this year after he became aware of the molestation investigation.

Petrina is now retired, but as a sheriff's deputy court documents show, Petrina was primarily assigned to jail operations. He has been placed on suicide watch while being held in jail.

Petrina has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and one felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Those charges stem from the alleged abuse of only three of the listed victims. Petrina is due back in court for his pre-preliminary hearing on June 18. His bail is set at $270,000.

Officer Dedrick Riley Charged with Punching Handcuffed Suspect

A Richmond police officer with a short but troubled history with the department was charged today with punching a handcuffed drug suspect in the face during an arrest in March.

Officer Dedrick Riley was charged with assault under the color of law and filing a false police report, both felonies, and misdemeanor battery, Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove said.

The drug suspect, a Richmond man in his late 30s, was never charged in connection with the arrest and did not suffer any lasting injuries from the assault, officials said.

Police sources said the man claimed Riley punched him several times and slammed him against a car. Afterward, source say, he failed to properly report his use of force, and the department forwarded the case to the district attorney after finding some conflicting evidence.

Riley, 39, started with the Police Department in 2004. He has been on administrative leave since the department's Internal Affairs unit began investigating in March, Grove said.

Today's charges are a result of the District Attorney's Office's own investigation, in which the man and numerous officers were interviewed, Grove said.

Riley is scheduled to turn himself in in the company of his lawyer, Harry Stern, at his arraignment Tuesday. The charges against Riley carry a penalty of more than six years in prison.

"Officer Riley is a veteran of the Richmond Police Department with a strong work ethic," Stern said. "It is my belief that the city of Richmond, and the chief in particular, have presented these groundless charges to the District Attorney's Office in an attempt to retaliate against him for suing them and prevailing against them in a previous matter."

The Police Department fired Riley after a similar complaint in 2006, but court records show he regained his job with back pay through binding arbitration, after the Richmond Police Officers Association filed a grievance on his behalf.

In that case, Riley, who worked the graveyard shift both before and after his termination, responded to an emergency call at Serrano's Bakery on 23rd Street about 7 a.m. March 26, 2006, according to a lawsuit filed in Contra Costa Superior Court.

The business owner's daughter called police when she found a homeless man sleeping at a counter inside the bakery when she opened shop. The victim and the suspect were arguing loudly on the sidewalk when Riley arrived with rookie probationary Officer Robert Garcia in tow.

The officers separated them. Riley moved the homeless man, Degangjara "Dave" Evans, away from the storefront when he suddenly turned.

Witnesses told internal affairs investigators that Riley struck Evans several times with his flashlight, bringing him to the ground. But according to court documents, he failed to report his use of force to his supervisor, and later told investigators that Evans resisted, but he did not intentionally hit Evans.

The department's Professional Standards Unit concluded that Riley used an acceptable level force but lied about it, a firing offense in policing. Richmond fired Riley in September 2006 and also let Garcia go.

An arbitrator found insufficient cause to fire Riley, and he regained his position in May 2007. He then sued the department in August of that year, claiming the firing amounted to racial discrimination and retaliation.

A judge dismissed the case in April 2008, and records show he dropped his appeal in state court in April this year.

Coincidentally, Riley also rode with another probationary officer the night involving today's criminal charges. The department took no action against that recruit.

Riley is also a named defendant in a Contra Costa County lawsuit against the city of Richmond and the Police Department in December. In that case, a woman said that in January 2008, Riley falsely arrested her and drove erratically when she was handcuffed in the back of his squad car. She said his driving caused her head to slam into a window, causing a bump, and Riley denied her when she requested medical treatment.
Other Information: http://www.ktvu.com/news/19780949/detail.html