Sutter County’s jail commander has been accused of masturbating while watching a young female relative have intercourse with anti-porn activist Donny Pauling, reports Monica Vaughan at the Appeal-Democrat
Thursday, the Sutter County District Attorney charged Lewis McElfresh Jr. with two counts of felony child molestation, willful child cruelty, burglary and misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a minor and indecent exposure.
One of the charges says McElfresh, a sheriff’s captain, arranged a meeting with a minor for the purpose of exposing her genitals or engaging in lewd and lascivious acts. The meeting allegedly occurred between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1 of this year.
Court documents said the alleged victim’s boyfriend confronted McElfresh in a recorded conversation.
According to a declaration in support of bail enhancement, McElfresh can be heard saying, “I know it was really bad.” And he also said, “I have a problem.”
Also, during the investigation, authorities were told McElfresh said if he were to get in legal trouble, he’s “going to take out a lot of people,” according to the declaration.
Pauling is currently in custody, with bond set at $500,000, on statutory rape charges. The evidence against Pauling, according public documents reviewed by the Appeal-Democrat:
A 16-year-old girl and her parents told Sutter County sheriff’s investigators Nov. 30 that Donny Pauling had been molesting her for three years, according to an affidavit for a search warrant….
The alleged victim said that beginning in June, Pauling had been having sex with her daily in his house, the document says.
She said Pauling said he would kill himself if she ever told law enforcement officials, and he had two firearms at his residence.
She also said he took sexually explicit photos of her and she suspected he posted some of them on a website.
Investigators recovered multiple computers, iPads and phones during a search of Pauling’s home Dec. 1.
Pauling has not yet been charged in the McElfresh case.
When the Appeal-Democrat on Dec. 9 asked McElfresh, then still in command of the [Sutter County] jail, why Pauling was transferred, McElfresh said he didn’t know.
Authorities are unwilling to release much information for fear of harming on-going investigations, Monica Vaughan reports, however District Attorney Amanda Hopper has said that “an in-depth investigation has yielded significant evidence giving foundation to the charges we filed.”
Public documents and comments made during court proceedings do offer some details of the charges against Pauling and McElfresh. According to Vaughan, one document in the statutory rape case against Pauling includes the following:
“(The) victim said she and suspect would have sex and he would use the sexual intercourse as a way to bribe the victim for the things she wanted or needed.”
The document also says, “(Pauling) told her he was not like other child molesters because he actually loved her.”
Pauling is currently in custody at Colusa County Jail on $500,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court next on January 7.