Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic information including a description of an alleged rape.
A Paso Robles police sergeant was accused of forcibly raping a sexual assault victim in her home, having multiple on-duty sexual encounters with another woman in his patrol car and ordering at least one woman he arrested to expose herself to him or face repercussions, a Sheriff’s Office detective found in his investigation.
Details of alleged crimes committed by former Sgt. Christopher Scott McGuire, who was allowed to resign while under investigation in October, were reported by a sheriff’s detective, who recommended in August that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office file charges of forcible rape, attempted forcible rape and assault and battery against the officer.
But despite the detective finding that DNA, GPS and roughly a dozen witnesses corroborated the allegations, county District Attorney Dan Dow announced at a Nov. 1 press conference that not only did his office not have enough evidence to prosecute McGuire, but that “no reasonable and objective jury could find Mr. McGuire guilty of the alleged crimes.”
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Part of the Sheriff’s Office’s investigative report, written by Detective Gower Slane, was provided to The Tribune on a condition of anonymity for the source.
Officials have not publicly disclosed specific allegations against the officer and have attempted to block the court from releasing his personnel information in ongoing criminal cases McGuire worked on.
County officials have denied nearly all of The Tribune’s public records requests for information about the investigation, citing laws that protect peace officers’ confidentiality.
Dow — who penned an op-ed in September saying he “stands by victims of sexual assault” and has said his office “started by believing” at least one victim in McGuire’s case — said Thursday he “unequivocally” stands by his decision not to charge McGuire.
McGuire’s alleged rape victim said through her attorney that she is considering her legal options now that local criminal charges are off the table.
McGuire, who refused to be interviewed by the Sheriff’s Office, did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Since he began his law enforcement career, McGuire has attracted controversy, including rumors of an inappropriate relationship with a minor and the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.
McGuire started his career at the Porterville Police Department in 2000, but failed to make it out of his probationary period and was let go in 2001, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.
He was then hired by the Farmersville Police Department in 2003 before being re-hired in Porterville in 2007, leaving that job in 2012 for Paso Robles.
But a retired Porterville police sergeant told a Paso Robles police commander that “it was common knowledge” that McGuire resigned from his first stint in Porterville following a rumor he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a 15-year-old police explorer, according to the report.
There was no record of such an allegation when McGuire was undergoing a background check for Paso Robles, the department told Slane.
While assigned to a vehicle theft task force in Porterville in 2009, McGuire fatally shot an unarmed man following a physical confrontation when he and another officer believed the man was tampering with vehicles, according to The Porterville Recorder.
McGuire was cleared by a departmental panel, which found his actions within department policy, according to local news reports.
After sexual assault allegations against McGuire surfaced in May, he was placed on paid administrative leave the from Paso Robles Police Department pending the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation, which concluded in August.
He was paid a total of $40,900 while on leave, according to the city.
The sheriff’s report was forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office, which was about a month into its investigation when McGuire resigned on Oct. 1. About a month later, the DA’s Office declined to press charges in the case.
According to Slane’s report, a chief deputy at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Paso Robles Police Department on May 8. He told Paso Robles police Cmdr. Tim Murphy that he was investigating an alleged sexual assault in which the victim noted in her interview that she had also been “raped” by a Paso Robles police sergeant named Christopher McGuire.
Murphy contacted the woman, who said she didn’t want to speak to anyone with the department nor any law enforcement without her attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, present. The department referred the matter to the Sheriff’s Office.
After Slane was assigned to the case, he first interviewed the woman, a former resident of rural Paso Robles, who said police responded to a hang-up 911 call at her home on the night of Dec. 19, 2017. After arriving at the home and interviewing the woman, police officers arrested her boyfriend on suspicion of rape and false imprisonment.
The report says the victim told Slane that McGuire, the sergeant on scene, “released” his fellow officers but stuck around to talk to the victim about her situation.
At one point, the report says the victim alleged, the uniformed McGuire ordered the woman to walk over to him and place her hand on his erect penis through his pants. The woman was “very distraught” but did as told, the report states.
“You like that, don’t you? You like men of power,” the woman said McGuire told her, before engaging in a back-and-forth in which he asked to her to compare his penis and his firearm.
“Keep both hands on both guns,” she said he told her. “Which gun do you like better?”
The alleged assault lasted about 12 minutes, the woman said, before McGuire ultimately left.
Several days later, the report states, McGuire showed up unexpectedly at the woman’s house in civilian clothes. With the woman’s two children home, McGuire reportedly asked to go into a detached garage unit, where he locked the door behind them and “grabbed her by her shoulders and attempted to force her onto her knees.”
“The victim believed McGuire was trying to force her to perform oral sex on him,” the report states.
When she resisted, McGuire bent her over a platform, pulled down her pants, and inserted his penis into her vagina, the woman said. The report states he thrust three times and ejaculated onto the garage floor.
“She asked McGuire what he was going to do with the mess he made on the floor and McGuire instructed her to clean it up,” the report reads.
McGuire reportedly told the woman that her boyfriend wouldn’t hurt her again and he would personally perform additional patrol checks of her home.
After McGuire left, the woman said she told her children she needed some time alone and went into her bedroom and screamed into her pillow.
Her children later confirmed her account to Slane, according to the report. Moreover, Slane had a forensic technician take a swab of the garage floor and compare it to McGuire’s DNA, a sample of which was clandestinely taken while he dined at an Atascadero restaurant. The DNA was conclusively McGuire’s, the report says.
The sergeant continued to follow and “stalk” the woman even after she moved, she told Slane. On their last encounter, a uniformed McGuire followed the woman home while she was driving with her children and walked her into her bedroom, where he again pulled down his pants and attempted to have sex with the woman, the report states.
This time, she pushed him away. She told Slane that McGuire stopped, put his uniform and belt back on and threatened her before leaving, saying that if she told anyone about what occurred, he would have Child Protective Services remove her children from her custody, the report says.
“I’m going to have CPS at your door if you’re not going to cooperate with me, and your kids will be gone,” McGuire allegedly said, according to the report.
During the course of his investigation, Slane canvassed the neighborhood where Victim 1 lived and was directed to another woman with whom witnesses said McGuire had a sexual relationship, which “only occurred while (McGuire) was at work,” according to the report.
When contacted, the woman admitted the affair with the married McGuire, saying they “engaged in sexual intercourse while he worked his regular patrol shift between the months of November 2017 and March 2018,” Slane wrote.
The woman reportedly told Slane that she met McGuire while he was on-duty and she was out drinking with friends in downtown Paso Robles. They began communicating privately on Facebook shortly thereafter, and the woman said she met with him on multiple occasions in locations across the city for sex, and performed oral sex on him in his patrol car.
During one incident, the woman said she pointed out they were parked under a surveillance camera, and McGuire reportedly told her not to worry, that “as long as no criminal activity occurred in that area, there would be no need for anyone to view the videos.”
The woman, who was acquainted with Woman 1, also said she at one point confronted McGuire about Woman 1’s rape allegation.
“Sgt. McGuire said, ‘She’s an ugly crack whore, and I would never do the things she is accusing me of,’” Slane’s report states.
But the woman told Slane she believed Woman 1’s allegations and added, “I’m glad she’s finally doing something” about it.
Woman 2 told Slane she never felt forced or threatened to do anything sexual with McGuire, but admitted she felt “pressured” and “guilted” into performing oral sex on him in his patrol car.
“(The woman) said she did in fact feel (McGuire) was abusing his position as a police officer but at the same time she felt safe when she was with him,” Slane wrote.
The detective noted that the woman said she feared retaliation for speaking with him.
GPS and cell phone data from the woman’s phone, as well as other witness statements, corroborated her account, according to the report.
A third alleged victim was identified by Slane during his investigation. This woman, however, initially defended McGuire and said that there was a coordinated effort by residents with grudges against him to accuse him of sexual assault.
On July 18, 2018, Slane interviewed the woman while she was in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail for an alleged probation violation.
Slane wrote she told him she and her husband were homeless and lived in the Salinas riverbed after losing their Section 8 housing. During her arrest, she made a remark about knowing details about allegations against McGuire, and the arresting Paso Robles officer notified Slane.
Despite rumors going around the community, the woman told Slane that “nothing happened to me with McGuire,” and that “she does not want to see (McGuire) get charged because they are serious crimes that are being alleged,” the report states.
After a while, the woman admitted she had been “propositioned” by McGuire, but she ultimately turned him down. Eventually, she told the detective she had been “harassed” by McGuire, and said he demanded she “flash” her breasts during an arrest in 2015.
During that incident, McGuire suspected her of being under the influence of a controlled substance and placed her handcuffed into the front passenger seat of his patrol car, which the woman said she found “strange.”
“As they were driving, (McGuire) made a statement such as, “flash me your (breasts) and I will make this go away,” the report states. “(Woman 3), because she was scared of violating her probation terms, agreed to ‘flash’ Sgt. McGuire.”
The woman told Slane that “there were several girls that told her about ‘similar things McGuire did,’” but she said it was not her place to to provide that information. She added that she believed they were truthful allegations.
Slane concluded his report by saying there was probable cause to support the filing of felony charges of assault and battery, forcible rape and attempted forcible rape, all related to McGuire’s alleged crimes against Woman 1.
But in his Nov. 1 news conference, Dow said his office is ethically obligated to only file charges if they are certain they can prove the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, a higher standard than probable cause.
“We never take lightly our decisions that lead to charging an individual with a crime and that may lead to taking away a person’s liberty,” Dow said Nov. 1. “Because of the great impact of carrying out our prosecutorial duty, we are charged with the highest ethical standards when reviewing investigations and making charging decisions.”
Asked for comment via email Thursday, Dow wrote that he “unequivocally” stands by his decision not to charge McGuire. He said Slane’s report and his office’s own investigation found insufficient evidence to prove a non-consensual act occurred with any of the alleged victims.
Dow wrote that based on Woman 1’s statements, “the totality of the evidence strongly supports a continuing and consensual personal relationship over a period of time.”
Finally, when asked if it was appropriate for a district attorney to publicly opine that a “reasonable and objective jury could not” find McGuire guilty, Dow said his words “reflect the ethical burden of proof required for a prosecutor to file a case.”
“If we conclude that no reasonable (objective) jury would conclude guilt, then we are ethically compelled to not pursue charges,” Dow wrote.