Detective accused of sexual penetration of a minor
A felony count of sexual penetration of a minor has been filed against Colusa County sheriff's detective Jeff Fortis, Superior Court records state.
The charges, which also include a misdemeanor count of child molestation, was filed on Friday in Colusa County by the Butte County District Attorney's Office.
Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner said he has a conflict with the case, and recused himself from the prosecution.
A call to the Butte County District Attorney's Office was not returned. The prosecutor is Kelly Maloy.
Arraignment is scheduled for June 19 in Colusa County Superior Court.
The circumstances surrounding the charges have been closely guarded since the investigation started about a year ago, but the reported victim in the case is believed to be a Colusa girl.
"Any and all allegations againt department members are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly in compliance with state and federal law," said sheriff's Lt. Shane Maxey, reading a statement over the phone.
"The sheriff takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, and in each case takes action appropriate with the conclusions reached by those charged with the responsibility of investigation and analysis."
Maxey declined to answer any other questions, citing personnel laws.
Sheriff Scott Marshall declined to comment, citing personnel laws. He specifically cited the penal and government codes for why he believes he cannot speak on this matter.
Marshall also said he "purposely" has not looked at the report on the criminal investigation that led to the charges Fortis is facing, but would not explain why.
One of the questions lingering is why it took so long.
Again, Marshall had no comment.
The county has come under some scrutiny in recent months for its sometimes lengthy administrative leaves and personnel investigations, as well as the costs involved.
The investigating agency in the Fortis case was the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, although at one time, officials there specifically denied it was conducting a criminal investigation on the detective.
A call to the Yuba County Sheriff's Department was not returned Tuesday.
The Yolo County Sheriff's Department did the internal investigation, but when contacted several months ago, officials declined to confirm or deny any involvement.
Fortis was hired on Sept. 7, 2006, according to the county Personnel Department.
He has been removed from duties since last summer, but the precise time of his leave, and whether he has been paid during the absence, was not available.
Personnel officials referred the matter to the County Counsel's Office. The County Counsel's Office referred the matter back to Personnel.
Marshall would not comment on the issue of how long Fortis has been away from the department.