Intrigue, Mystery Attend Former Sheriff’s Sergeant’s Case

Intrigue and mystery surround a case involving a former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who was placed on administrative leave earlier this year in the aftermath of allegations that he had sexual relations with an underage girl.

The sergeant has now resigned and the department has handed the case off to federal authorities. Nevertheless, questions remain over whether he was actually guilty of everything he has been accused of, if he was perhaps set up by department higher-ups because the former sheriff coveted his wife or whether a devastating betrayal of her marriage vows by his wife, who is also a sheriff’s department employee, perhaps motivated the sergeant to engage in the action he did.

The department’s move against sergeant Randy Beavers was significant enough from the consideration that someone of his status would find himself caught up in a criminal probe. The nature of the alleged criminal activity, statutory rape, added a note of gravity to the matter. As details relating to the circumstance have oozed out, the situation has taken on the character of a full blown scandal that could erode even further the reputation of former sheriff Gary Penrod, who abruptly retired as sheriff in January, midway through his fourth elected term in office.

The investigation into Beavers and his activity, the Sentinel has learned, entailed the seizing and examining of Beaver’s computer. Upon analysis, hundreds of pornographic images, including ones investigators deemed to be child pornography, were determined to have been downloaded onto that computer.

No charges pertaining to either sex with a minor or the possession of child pornography have been filed against Beavers, and as of this week he is not the subject of any criminal complaint in San Bernardino County.

Beavers did resign from the sheriff’s department this summer, however, and the investigation into both the statutory rape and child pornography issues has been handed over to the FBI. A spokeswoman for the bureau said she could offer no comment on an ongoing investigation and that she would not confirm whether or not any such investigation was actually being pursued. Sheriff’s department sources, however, said the case had been sent to federal authorities.

Multiple sources have told the Sentinel that the case is a complicated one. While the lead and follow through with regard to the contact with the underage girl has been cinched up, according to those who worked with Beavers, the child pornography rap is problematic, they say. A forensic analysis of Beaver’s computer determined the presence of a computer virus that would automatically actuate the downloading of images from the internet, including those deemed to be child pornography. It is therefore possible, at least some of his former colleagues believe, that Beavers did not knowingly or willingly introduce the offending material into his computer.

Authorities, including the sheriff’s department, the district attorney’s office and the FBI may be stymied with regard to the Beavers matter for another reason, however.

Sources tell the Sentinel that former sheriff Gary Penrod had for some time been carrying on an affair with Beavers’ wife, Cindy Beavers.

Cindy Beavers has in her own right garnered a degree of notoriety, having served for over a decade as a spokesperson for the department. Under Penrod, she had risen to the position of the department’s chief spokeswoman, and has been frequently quoted in newspaper articles pertaining to the department and has appeared as the department’s most visible face on television in recent years.

Penrod announced his retirement as of February 1 of this year in January, several weeks after he testified in late December as a defense witness in the public corruption trial of former Orange County sheriff Michael S. Carona. Carona, a once-widely respected law enforcement figure who was considered a potential future candidate for California governor, stood accused by federal prosecutors of accepting illegal campaign contributions, as well as bribes, in exchange for public and private favors. He would eventually be acquitted of those charges but was convicted of witness tampering.

Penrod testified he was never overly concerned with fundraising but acknowledged that in San Bernardino County those given honorary deputy or reserve deputy sheriff status are oftentimes his campaign contributors. Penrod said he perceived no problem in such arrangements.

Penrod’s testimony on behalf of Carona in which he maintained providing special deputy status to those willing to bankroll his political campaigns was an acceptable way of running a law enforcement agency antagonized federal prosecutors. It was widely rumored, though never officially confirmed, that Penrod resigned to assuage federal authorities and avoid being prosecuted himself on corruption charges.

The circumstance with regard to Randy Beavers and his wife now sheds a different light on the Penrod resignation. One member of the department said that Randy Beavers began acting erratically last year and that his behavior may have been a direct outgrowth of his knowledge of the relationship between his wife and his boss.

Penrod was unavailable for comment and the sheriff’s department, at an official level, was unwilling to facilitate contact with him.

Cindy Beavers, reached at her office in the sheriff’s department’s public affairs unit, told the Sentinel, “I haven’t said anything about it and I’m not about to say anything about it. If you want information about the case, call my husband.”

Randy Beavers could not be reached for comment.



One Response

  1. […] See also:  Escapades of former sheriff Gary Penrod […]

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