San Bernardino lawman accused of assaulting women he arrested

A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy was arrested Friday on suspicion of taking bribes and sexually assaulting five women he arrested between April and July, investigators said.

Matthew Linderman, 30, of Victorville, was booked into West Valley Detention Center. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Superior Court in Victorville, although that could be postponed if he posts $500,000 bail.

The first of the alleged assaults was reported early last month, said Sgt. Rick Ells, a sheriff's department spokesman.

The deputy, who had patrol duties at the Mall of Victor Valley in Victorville, was initially put on administrative leave. As of Friday he was no longer with the sheriff's department, said Ells, who declined to provide details.

Ells would only say Linderman had been with the department for less than 10 years.

Detectives suspect that Linderman engaged in "inappropriate, illegal" sexual conduct with women he arrested, Ells said, adding: "We don't have a place for that in our department."

Sheriff Gary Penrod was out of the office and unavailable for comment Friday. Linderman could not be reached for comment.

According to the criminal complaint filed in court, Linderman is accused of soliciting four bribes on April 18, May 2 and July 30, soliciting another to engage in lewd conduct on April 18, oral copulation under the color of authority on May 2 and sexual battery by restraint on July 30.

Six of the eight counts are felonies.

The five women named as victims in the complaint are identified only by their first name and last initial.

The complaint against Linderman says one woman was touched while unlawfully restrained, two were forced to commit lewd acts with each other, and one was made to perform oral sex on Linderman by threat of arrest.

The sheriff's department declined to release Linderman's booking photograph.

Such photos are often released by authorities in the hope that other victims may recognize their attacker and come forward.

Ells said no additional victims are expected.

"At this point," he said, "we think we've located everybody."

Reach Paul LaRocco at 909-806-3064 or plarocco@PE.com

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