BAKERSFIELD — A former Kern County Sheriff’s deputy who was once assigned to the Rosamond substation, pleaded not guilty Monday in Kern County Superior Court, to an additional eight charges of inappropriate conduct while on duty, including stalking and sexual battery, bringing the total number of women who have made accusations against him, to five.
Michael Everett Clark, 31, was released on his own recognizance at the hearing by Judge Michael Bush after Clark’s attorney Kyle Humphrey, argued that Clark is no longer a member of law enforcement and had agreed to a criminal protective order, which bars him from contacting the alleged victims.
Clark posted bail of $175,000 in the original case brought against him in October, after a 21-year-old woman told the Sheriff’s Office that Clark offered her a ride home from work in Rosamond before forcing himself on her in his patrol car. Clark later admitted to the woman he “violated” her consent during a phone call that was part of a follow-up investigation, according to a probable cause declaration.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Zigler had argued for additional bail, saying Clark committed the alleged acts under the color of law, using his position in law enforcement to gain the alleged victims’ trust. However, Bush said the original bail amount was sufficient for both the original and most recent charges.
The Kern County District Attorney’s Office says all of the newly-surfaced alleged incidents occurred over a period of months in 2019. In total, Clark is charged with nine felonies and two misdemeanors.
Clark has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges related to the previously-reported incident.
He faces two additional charges of felony stalking, two counts of felony sexual battery, two counts of felony assault by a public officer and a misdemeanor charge for touching a person intimately against their will for arousal, along with another misdemeanor for obscene or threatening telephone calls.
While KBAK 29 reported in December, that Clark was no longer working for the Sheriff’s Office, the department could not confirm Clark’s employment status to The Californian on Friday.
In one of the newer allegations, a woman said Clark arrested her and then groped her genitals and breasts while she was handcuffed. Another woman said that after Clark responded to a call for service at her residence, he called and texted her in an attempt to start a sexual relationship.
One of the women appears to have filed a claim against Kern County relating to her alleged assault.
Although the Kern County District Attorney’s Office would not comment on the claim, the date and description of events match information in a claim filed on Feb. 13 of this year.
In a sworn statement included in the claim, the woman says Clark and two other deputies arrived at her home, shouting “probation sweep!” on Feb. 14, 2019. She said the deputies told her she was under arrest and placed her in handcuffs.
The sweep occurred after the woman’s boyfriend had filed a claim against several sheriff’s deputies alleging harassment, and the woman said she believed the deputies hoped to intimidate her from testifying on behalf of her boyfriend.
The woman said Clark took her to his patrol car by himself for another search. During the search, the claim says the woman was “touched, rubbed, stroked, grabbed, groped, fondled, and/or molested” in her private areas.
Later, the woman said she was driven to the sheriff’s downtown receiving facility and left inside the patrol car for 20 minutes with the windows up and the heater set at the maximum level.
When the woman requested the “uncomfortable situation” be fixed, she says a deputy swore at her and laughed. She claims she was held for around 38 hours at the central receiving facility without food or water even though she informed officials she had hypoglycemia, a condition caused by low blood sugar.
She said she believes her treatment was intended to intimidate her, and that if she spoke out she would be subjected to intensified harassment.
“We are alleging that there was a complete abuse of power by Deputy Michael Clark,” Danay Gonzalez, an attorney representing the claimant, wrote in an email to The Californian. “It is our information that he sexually assaulted, harassed, and intimated our client while he was in uniform, on the clock, and on the taxpayer’s dime. There is plenty of evidence to support this.”