Marysville police chief out following sexual assault investigation
Chief Aaron Easton is no longer with the Marysville Police Department, City Manager Walter Munchheimer announced Thursday.
“In discussions with the City Manager, the Chief expressed his belief that the well-being and continued credibility of the department was best served by separating himself, and the personal issues facing him at the moment, from the City,” it was written in a news release, received via email at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Easton is the subject of a sexual assault investigation being conducted by the Yuba County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices. An article published in Thursday’s Appeal-Democrat covered allegations of the assault on a former female cadet in the Yuba College Police Academy in 2008.
“I am aware of the serious allegations and ongoing investigation involving Chief Aaron Easton,” Munchheimer wrote in the news release. “While this is an allegation only, at this time, it is deeply troubling on a personal level.”
Lt. Christian Sachs was named interim chief. Sachs is a 17-year veteran of the Marysville Police Department.
Munchheimer also said the Marysville Police Department is in no way implicated in the allegations or investigations involving Easton.
“I have full confidence that the officers, support staff and volunteers of the police department are continuing to perform professionally and to carry out their duties to serve and protect the people of our community,” Munchheimer wrote in the release. “The city will do everything necessary to reassure Marysville residents and businesses that that will continue without any distractions.”
Easton’s attorney, Adam Gasner, in a text message earlier in the week said his client “categorically denies” the sexual assault allegations.
“(Easton) respects those that are in charge of this investigation and trusts that when this investigation is complete these allegations will be shown to be what they are: false and unfounded,” Gasner texted.
Easton took over as police chief in December 2014. He started his law enforcement career in 2004 as a Yuba County sheriff’s deputy before joining the Marysville Police Department in November 2010.
Easton filled in for the city manager in September while Munchheimer was on vacation.
Earlier this year, Munchheimer announced he would be retiring as city manager on Nov. 1, but city officials requested he stay on until the end of the year to allow for a smooth transition. Before Munchheimer agreed to postpone his retirement, a Marysville City Council member said Easton was a likely candidate to fill in as interim city manager until a permanent selection was made.
The woman who made the allegations of Easton, who was a part-time instructor at the academy, told Yuba County sheriff’s detectives that he forced her to perform oral copulation in his patrol vehicle during an academy-required ride-along.
City leaders had been informed last week that the investigation was ongoing and that Easton had been interviewed.
The Appeal-Democrat article was largely based upon information from affidavits filed by a Yuba County sheriff’s detective in requests for search warrants.
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