Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Det Brian Sawicki Arrested for Masturbating at Park

A Santa Barbara police detective is facing allegations of indecent exposure after several teenage girls reportedly saw him masturbating while off-duty near Refugio State Beach on Monday, sheriff’s officials said.

Det. Brian Sawicki, 33, surrendered his badge, identification and department-issued firearm after being placed on administrative leave by Santa Barbara Police Department officials following his arrest Monday afternoon, according to a news release.

The incident began when two young teenage girls walking along a trail near the beach noticed a man walking behind them at approximately 3:20 p.m., Sheriff’s Spokesman Drew Sugars said.

“The girls walked back towards the campground and saw the same man now lying down and masturbating,” Sugars said in a news release. “The girls immediately ran towards the campground, where they alerted an on-duty state park ranger.”

As the ranger interviewed the victims, they spotted the suspect and pointed him out, authorities said. After a short foot pursuit, the ranger caught and arrested the suspect, later identified as Sawicki.

The detective faces three misdemeanor charges — annoying or molesting a child under 18, indecent exposure, and resisting or delaying a peace officer, Sugars said. Sawicki was booked into jail on $2,500 bond but was not listed among inmate records yesterday afternoon, a jail official confirmed, suggesting he posted bail.

Police Chief Cam Sanchez said he placed the detective on administrative leave and launched an internal investigation after learning of the incident.

“I am shocked and deeply disappointed that a member of my department is the subject of this investigation, but I want to assure the public that the department is taking all necessary steps to ensure the public is protected and the investigation is completed in a fair and impartial manner,” the police chief said in a prepared statement.

He said the police department is prevented from releasing any additional details during the course of the internal investigation due to personnel privacy policies. Queries by the Daily Sound into Sawicki’s history at the department were not immediately addressed, but he has been referred to as a detective in previous news releases.

Officials at the District Attorney’s Office said Sawicki has yet to enter their system and it is unclear when his arraignment will take place. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department is handling the criminal investigation, although the police department is cooperating with sheriff’s investigators and conducting its own administrative investigation.

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