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$49,999 Settlement in CA Sex Extortion Suit

On February 1, 2000, San Bernadino County, California settled a lawsuit with Jeffrey Darr for $49,999. Darr filed suit claiming that county sheriff deputy James Wiebeld (now promoted to detective) had framed him on methamphetamine manufacturing charges, for which he spent three years in jail awaiting trial, so Wiebeld could extort sexual favors from Darr's fiancée, Caria Brachais. Wiebeld threatened to imprison Brachais as well if she did not have sex with him.

Wiebeld denied most of the allegations, claiming they were "90 to 95%" false, he did not specify which part of the claims were true.

Settlements of less than $50,000 do not require public approval by the San Bernadino county board of supervisors. Dennis Hansberger, a county supervisor said, "The entire board was angry, offended and surprised to learn the deputy is still employed. If the conduct of the deputy is supported by the evidence in the record then the county would have been financially exposed and it would have been pointless to defend those actions." Darr's attorney Jerry Steering simply said, "I've never seen anything like this."

Source: Daily Bulletin Online

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