A Kern County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Friday on suspicion of an alleged sexual assault that occurred in a patrol car while the deputy was on duty in Rosamond.
Michael Everett Clark, 31, was arrested Friday on suspicion of false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault under the color of authority and two counts of sexual battery. He was arrested while on duty, booked into Kern County Jail, and was being interviewed by detectives Friday afternoon, officials said.
“The primary concern when he was on duty (Friday) was to make sure we didn’t have a repeat with someone else,” Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “The public safety was our number one concern and the safety of our victim.”
KCSO detectives received information Thursday night from the 21-year-old woman’s employer that at about 7 p.m. Aug. 24, the woman was walking to her home after leaving work in Rosamond, KCSO said.
Clark, who was in his patrol car, pulled up next to the woman and offered her a ride home. She accepted and got into the front seat of his patrol car, KCSO said in a news release.
The woman told detectives that when she and Clark arrived at her home, Clark allegedly leaned over from the driver’s seat and forced himself on her, the news release said. He is accused of kissing and fondling her as well as exposing himself, KCSO said.
The woman said the alleged assault lasted about 20 minutes, and she felt she couldn’t leave the patrol car. Clark eventually allowed the woman to get out of the car, KCSO said in its news release.
“We’re convinced that she did not consent to this,” Youngblood said. “We wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t convinced that this occurred exactly like I portrayed.”
Over the next couple of days, the victim said, she began receiving messages on social media “and inappropriate texts” from Clark, asking if she would meet with him, Youngblood said. She also told detectives that on multiple occasions, Clark showed up at her place of work, asking her if she wanted to hang out or go out for drinks, KCSO said.
Prior to the alleged incident, the woman told detectives, she never had any sort of relationship or interaction with Clark, KCSO said.
KCSO detectives worked on the case into the night Thursday and Friday morning, Youngblood said. He expressed how proud he was of their work and how KCSO polices its own.
“They took this very seriously,” Youngblood said. “No one is more offended than they are and the other deputies that this could occur.”
Clark, who has been a deputy with KCSO for about two and a half years, has been assigned to the KCSO Rosamond substation since 2018, the department said.
Clark has been placed on administrative leave, Youngblood said. An administrative investigation, separate from the criminal investigation, will lead to a determination of his future employment status with KCSO.