A Bakersfield police officer accused of rape by one woman and demanding sex from a female crime victim, will not face criminal charges. The Kern County District Attorney's office made the announcement Thursday, citing inconsistent statements from both women.
Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman also said the woman who accused Officer Patrick Lefler of rape will not cooperate with the police investigation. Officer Lefler was arrested in July after a woman came forward saying Lefler texted her and refused to return her stolen property unless she had sex with him.
"Her description of what happened in the text messaging was inconsistent with what we found in the complete investigation. She denied ever sending pictures, but she had, in fact, sent pictures. And, in the dialogue, although he was more initiating in the dialogue about sex, she was also kind of taking part in it," said Spielman.
Spielman said his office can't prove Officer Lefler intentionally tried to withhold the woman's stolen property.
"He actually offered to turn the property into the property room or he could give it to her, and she was fine with either one. He certainly was trying to use it as a way to meet her and to meet up with her, which can be viewed as inappropriate, but that would not make it a crime," said Spielman.
After Lefler was arrested July 18th, another woman came forward accusing him of raping her while he was on duty. "Could a sexual assault have occurred? It could have occurred. Can we prove it? No," said Spielman.
Prosecutors said Lefler met the second woman while he was on the job and started exchanging texts with her.
"It was another situation where there were inconsistencies with the way that she described the text messaging. The victim was more involved in a discussion about sexual topics and sexual acts, and that was inconsistent with how she described the text messaging," explained Spielman.
According to a search warrant, the woman told investigators Officer Lefler came to her home to follow up on a burglary report. She claimed he forced her onto a bed, raped her, and sexually assaulted her with a baton.
"In looking at what we can prove as prosecutors, we're left with her testimony. And, she could be attacked at trial because of the inconsistencies and the way she describes the texting and what you find in the records," he continued.
Spielman said it would be hard to pursue this case because of a lack of evidence, including DNA.
"After three weeks, she is refusing to return calls to the Bakersfield Police Department and she is uncooperative. We don't have a sample from her to be able to analyze a DNA profile," said Spielman.
17 News went to Lefler's home in southwest Bakersfield. There was no answer at the door Thursday afternoon, and inside the home it looked as if someone had recently moved out.
17 News tried to speak to the woman who filed the sexual assault complaint against Officer Lefler, but her mother said she was too distraught to speak with us.
17 News also requested an interview with Police Chief Greg Williamson, but Public Information Officer Uriel Pacheco said it would be inappropriate for anyone to comment while there is an ongoing internal investigation.
Officer Lefler is still with the department and is still on paid administrative leave.