California police officer on paid leave following arrest on suspicion of raping 16-year-old girl

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FONTANA, Calif. (KTLA) — A Fontana police officer is on paid leave after his arrest on suspicion of raping a 16-year-old girl four years ago, authorities said Saturday.

Nicholas Shawn Stark appears in a booking photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on June 4, 2020.
Nicholas Shawn Stark appears in a booking photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on June 4, 2020.

Nicholas Shawn Stark, a 28-year-old Fontana resident and police officer, was released on bail Friday morning following his arrest Thursday on suspicion of rape of a drugged victim, inmate records show. His bail was set at $250,000, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

An investigation began when a Fontana police captain became aware Tuesday of a social media post from a woman indicating that she had been sexually assaulted by a Fontana police officer, according to a statement from department Chief William Green.

The agency learned the identity of the woman, and the chief called the San Bernardino County sheriff to ask for an independent probe of the allegations, Green said.

Authorities identified Stark, a Fontana police officer, as the suspect.

The crime happened when Stark was 24 years old, before Fontana police employed him, Officer Richard Guerrero told KTLA. Guerrero did not immediately have information on his hire date.

Green said he could not immediately fire Stark due to state laws, and that the officer is on paid leave.

“He is on paid leave and that is disgusting,” the chief said. “However, I will endeavor to terminate him in the most expeditious manner possible.”

While the department’s background process for prospective officers takes about three to five months and includes a psychological evaluation and polygraph test, it “missed the mark and hired someone we should not have,” Green said.

“No attempt to justify or mitigate his predatory deviant behavior will be made,” the chief said. “He has tarnished the badge of the Fontana Police Department and our community deserves answers.”

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately have information on when Stark will appear in court.

The Sheriff’s Department released his booking photo and urged any additional victims or anyone with further information to call investigators at 909-387-3615. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).

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