Felony sexual assault charges against former San Mateo officer

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A former San Mateo police officer was charged with 22 felony counts of sexual assault and related charges today for incidents on duty as an officer in San Mateo last year, as well as when he was a member of the Los 
Rios Community College District police in the Sacramento area in 2013, San Mateo County prosecutors announced today.
 
Noah Winchester, 31, was arrested near his Stockton home this morning and was booked into jail on $3.1 million bail, according to the district attorney's office. He remains in jail and is scheduled to appear in court next week.
 
The San Mateo Police Department released a statement today saying that while it respects his presumption of innocence under the legal system, if proven true the allegations are a "disgrace."
 
"We are horrified by the news of the recent arrest of this former San Mateo and Los Rios Community College District Police Officer, and want to assure our community and our leaders that this neither reflects nor deflects 
the dedication to duty and selfless service that our men and women commit themselves to every day on every contact," police said in the statement.
 
Winchester faces charges relating to five victims between July 2, 2013, and Oct. 19, 2015. The charges include kidnapping with intent to commit rape, rape, sexual penetration and oral copulation under color of authority, battery, criminal threats, and forcible sex offenses.
 
The investigation was opened in October and Winchester resigned in February. But news of the investigations into his conduct didn't surface publicly until May, when Wagstaffe and San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer revealed he was under investigation.
 
The San Mateo County investigation into Winchester was opened on Oct. 20, when police in Burlingame responded to a distressed driver in the area of El Camino Real and Chapin Avenue at about 5:15 a.m. After contacting the driver, Burlingame police referred the report to San Mateo police for further investigation, according to Burlingame police records. 
 
The allegations had happened the previous night at about 10 p.m., San Mateo police said.
 
While Manheimer said that as soon as the allegations against Winchester came to light she immediately suspended his police powers and contacted the district attorney's office, even at the time Winchester was 
hired he was under investigation in Sacramento.
 
Sacramento police opened a criminal investigation into Winchester in 2013, when he was a member of the Los Rios Community College District police force, according to Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein.
 
Winchester was briefly employed by the Sacramento Police Department in 2006 and 2007, but was released before his probationary period was up.
 
Heinlein refused to provide more information about the Sacramento investigation into Winchester through a California Public Records Act request, citing the ongoing investigation.
 
In 2015, another victim came forward to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department regarding a 2013 incident, according to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull.
 
Winchester served with the Los Rios Police Department from January 2009 to January 2015, according to district spokesman Mitchel Benson. He joined the San Mateo department early in 2015.
 
Los Rios police Chief Cheryl Sears said in May that her department was cooperating with Wagstaffe's investigation, though his office had only contacted the Los Rios department in May after news reports of Winchester's conduct had already surfaced.
 
The San Mateo Police Department received a separate report of possible sexual misconduct by on-duty officers last year when a man and woman reported that two officers, Faysal Abi-Chahine and Derrick Jarvis, pulled them over and searched them without cause on Aug. 26.
 
Abi-Chahine allegedly groped the woman in the process, according to a lawsuit they filed in federal court in June.
 
In a statement, San Mateo police said the department thoroughly investigated the allegations but didn't find sufficient evidence of misconduct by the officers. Both remain in good standing with the department.
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