Crime

Ex-Cuesta College employee is denied release from jail

Lacey Fowler appears in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday, July 15, for her second arraignment.
Lacey Fowler appears in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday, July 15, for her second arraignment. mfountain@thetribunenews.com

A former Cuesta College human resources analyst accused of committing a series of crimes since the launch of an investigation into a breach of sensitive college employee data was denied release from jail Wednesday morning at her second court arraignment.

Lacey Fowler, 29, of Paso Robles, pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.

Those charges now include unauthorized computer access, possession of methamphetamine and heroin for sales, forgery, second-degree commercial burglary, identity theft, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, battery of a spouse, violating a restraining order and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Wednesday’s hearing was Fowler’s second in San Luis Obispo Superior Court after a judge initially granted her time to hire an attorney. She was a no-show at her next hearing on July 7, prompting the judge to issue a warrant for her arrest.

Fowler was apprehended Monday afternoon by Paso Robles police responding to a tip, according to a news release.

The Paso Robles Police Department said officers responded to the 100 block of Capital Hill where Fowler fled on foot and was quickly taken into custody, but not before she allegedly tried to strike an officer with her elbow. Neither she nor the officer was injured during the arrest.

Investigators then towed and searched a vehicle associated with Fowler and allegedly found a small amount of methamphetamine.

She was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on $727,000 bail.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy assigned the Public Defender’s Office to represent Fowler, who asked if she could be released from custody while proceedings continue.

Duffy denied that request, as well as a subsequent request by public defender Patricia Ashbaugh to reduce her bail.

“I think a high bail is appropriate until these things get sorted out,” Duffy said, setting her total bail at $950,000 including the new charges.

Duffy did, however, say he would forward the bail reduction request to the county Probation Department for input.

Fowler forfeited $20,000 bail she originally posted following her first arrest June 17, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

She is due back in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing.

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