Bail reduced for deputy accused of sexual assaults

VISTA, Calf. -- A judge reduced bail Monday for a San Diego County sheriff's deputy accused of groping 13 women and forcing another to participate in oral sex.

Richard Fischer, who posted $2 million bail on Friday,  had his bail reduced to $750,000.

At Monday’s hearing, he was formally charged with five new counts, including forcible oral copulation. He pleaded not guilty to the news charges.

Fischer, 32, faces 10 years and eight months if convicted of the new charges, according to the District Attorney's Office, and an additional 14 years and eight months behind bars if found guilty of the previously filed charges of assault and battery by an officer, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Last month, Fischer told reporters at the San Diego Central Courthouse that the charges against him are false.

The deputy said he served eight years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan. Fischer said he has made more than 700 arrests during his time in law enforcement.

"It's not just a job, it's a calling," Fischer said of his work as a sheriff's deputy.

Twenty women have filed lawsuits against Fischer in civil court, alleging that he assaulted them while on patrol.

Defense attorney Manny Medrano said last month that the case boiled down to a "she said, he said," with no eyewitness, no confession from Fischer, and "significant" credibility problems with alleged victims.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Irving told Judge Daniel Goldstein at the end of a five-day preliminary hearing earlier this year that Fischer "preyed" upon the alleged victims while on duty and in full uniform, mostly late at night.

"He had the authority to detain these women," the prosecutor said. "He had power over these women, who were all vulnerable. These women needed help, not sex."

Fischer asked the alleged victims for hugs, touched the breasts of some and moved the hand of one woman over his crotch while they hugged for a third time, according to Irving.

"She said, `What are you doing!" Irving told the judge. "He tells her, `Don't tell anyone."'

Fischer surrendered to authorities in late February before his initial arraignment. He was placed on paid administrative leave when the first allegations against him came to light last October. The six-year veteran was removed from paid-leave status in January.

Fischer will be back in court Sept. 11 for a readiness conference.