DA won't prosecute Bakersfield cop accused of sex crimes

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Charges won't be filed against a Bakersfield police officer accused of sexual crimes.

The Kern County District Attorney's office said Thursday that the officer's behavior was "professionally reprehensible" but not necessarily criminal.

Officer Patrick Lefler was arrested July 18, accused of trying to coerce a woman into having sex with him in exchange for the return of her stolen property that police had recovered.

After that arrest was made public, another woman came forward claiming she was sexually assaulted by Lefler. The officer was accused of forcible rape while on duty, according to a search warrant obtained by Eyewitness News.

Investigators searched Lefler's home in southwest Bakersfield, looking for evidence, such as DNA, bodily fluids left on uniforms, and a 16- to 20-inch baton the second victim claimed Lefler used to penetrate her.

Investigators also recovered text messages and other documents through computer forensics, looking into the claims of sexual ransom.

The District Attorney's office said it decided to decline prosecution because it found "significant inconsistencies in the statements of the alleged victims and the text messages sent from the victims' cellphones to Lefler."

"Due to these significant inconsistencies, we have serious doubts as to what actually transpired between Lefler and the women he came in contact with while on duty," the District Attorney's office said in a news release. "This equates to lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard by which all criminal cases are judged."

Lefler remains on paid administrative leave while the police department continues its internal investigation.