April 6th, 2007
MURRIETA, CALIFORNIA – A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy accused of sexually assaulting two women while on duty will walk free thanks to a plea bargain.
John Wayne Leseberg, 43, had faced about 17 years in state prison if convicted on the original charges.
After initially pleading not guilty to the charges in December, Leseberg was allowed to plead guilty to two felony counts of burglary and three misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure, for which he was expected to be sentenced to two years behind bars.
Friday’s sentencing hearing was delayed until July 31, and Deputy District Attorney Valerie Zucker told Judge Michael Hider that she expected Leseberg to be sentenced to time served at that time.
By delaying Friday’s hearing, Leseberg will have been in jail long enough for that two-year sentence to be equivalent to time served, allowing him to walk out of jail a free man the same day he is sentenced, his attorney, Joseph Cavallo, said outside court.
As part of the plea agreement, Hider dismissed 10 other counts, including sexual battery and sexual assault under color of authority.
Leseberg was originally arrested last April 26 and released on bail on charges stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a woman while on duty in November 2004.
He was charged with willfully committing an act of sexual penetration, sexual battery and assault by a public officer stemming from alleged acts on the woman while she was in jail, and later at an abandoned apartment.
About a week after his initial arrest, Leseberg was arrested at the home of another woman — the grandmother of another deputy — on suspicion of intimidating a witness, burglary, sexual assault with intent to commit rape and elder abuse.
Because Leseberg is a peace officer, he was held in protective custody at the Southwest Detention Center in lieu of $2 million bail, and was placed on unpaid administrative leave last May.
Leseberg will have to register as a sex offender, prosecutors said.