Sheriff’s department reveals sexual battery claims; Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez unavailable

BARSTOW • The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating allegations of sexual battery against Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Arden Wiltshire. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the sheriff’s report and is deciding whether or not to file charges against the mayor.

A victim reported of being sexually battered by Gomez in the unincorporated area of Barstow on Dec. 18, Wiltshire said Tuesday. However, Wiltshire said she doesn’t have any idea who the victim is. Gomez has not been arrested as of Monday night, according to Wiltshire.

Charges have not been filed as of Tuesday morning, according to DA spokesperson Susan Mickey. The DA received the case from the sheriff’s department Monday.

The sheriff’s department has executed a search warrant at the apartment complex where Gomez lives within city limits. However, a judge sealed the search warrant. According to Jodi Miller, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s department, a warrant could be sealed because it may include the victim’s name. A warrant could also be sealed because if the information were made public it would jeopardize an ongoing investigation, she said.

City officials became aware of the investigation against Gomez because the sheriff’s department notified Barstow Police Chief Dianne Burns, City Manager Richard Rowe said Monday. Rowe and the city attorney discussed the investigation with Gomez prior to Tuesday’s Council meeting, but because a personnel issue is involved, Rowe couldn’t comment on the investigation. The Barstow City Council is aware that Gomez is being investigated, he said.

Attempts to reach Gomez for comment Friday, Monday and Tuesday have been unsuccessful. Gomez wasn’t in his office Monday, Rowe said. Gomez also wasn’t in his office Tuesday morning.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or jcejnar@desertdispatch.com



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