Former Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Paul Navarro was fired for allegedly having sex with an inmate after her release from jail and giving her prescription drugs.
Navarro was fired by the sheriff’s office Oct. 4. An internal investigation report into allegations made by the woman that The Bulletin obtained through a public records request Wednesday, details an alleged affair that started in 2003 then stopped. It continued in 2015 and 2016, and Facebook messages showed Navarro continued to attempt to contact the woman until April of this year, despite the fact she did not reply.
While jail deputies often run into former inmates at the grocery store or in church, initiating contact with a former inmate is against sheriff’s office policy.
Navarro was a nearly 19-year veteran of the office, hired in 1998 as a corrections technician and promoted in 2001 to corrections deputy. In 2015, he was promoted to sergeant and still working in the jail. His ending salary was $94,785.
Capt. Deron McMaster said aside from the allegations, Navarro was a good employee.
“I have been trying to figure out in my own mind how on one hand, we can have employees that do good work, and on the other hand, they really fall down,” McMaster said. “He was respected by his peers and who he supervised. He was very professional when he was working. He just had this other part of him that surfaced that we became aware of.”
Navarro is the sixth employee the sheriff’s office has fired in the past year. During interviews, Navarro admitted that his alleged conduct sheds bad light on the office, which has dealt with a plethora of scandals over the past several years.
McMaster acknowledged the repeated bad publicity, but said the sheriff’s office he knows is full of good, dedicated employees. Those who don’t subscribe to those values are being weeded out he said.
“The sheriff is holding people accountable, and we want our people to be in alignment with our values,” he said. “And if they aren’t able to, they won’t be here much longer.”
The investigation concluded Navarro had inappropriate contact with other former inmates, and that his behavior was a pattern. Throughout two lengthy interviews following his placement on paid leave, Navarro denied the accusations.
“I’ve been married for 27 years, and I would do nothing to jeopardize my wife, our relationship for that,” he told investigators. “I’m being totally honest with you.”
Lt. Chad Davis, who was conducting the interview, repeatedly told Navarro he didn’t believe him. The former inmate making accusations against Navarro said she knew the subdivision he lived in, the layout of the inside and outside of his house, that he had two sons and about the pills he was prescribed, according to investigation documents.
The woman told jail staff of the alleged affair on May 2 while in jail custody in hopes of trading the information for her release. Navarro was placed on administrative leave the next day while the investigation moved forward.
No evidence found during the investigation suggested Navarro had sex with an inmate in the jail or that he traded criminal information or perks to current or former inmates for sex. However, one message was found to be sent from Navarro to the woman while Navarro was on duty.
Navarro met the woman while she was in jail in 2003 for a tampering with evidence charge. She estimated she was in custody for six months and during that time developed a crush on Navarro and would tell him he was cute. About a week after her release, she ran into Navarro at Stars Cabaret, a Bend strip club where both were patrons. She sat down next to him.
“I’ll pay you $50 to take your clothes off,” Navarro told her, according to the woman’s account.
The two immediately left together and drove to Blackhorse Saloon, where they had sexual contact in Navarro’s truck, according to the investigation report.
Over the next four months, they hung out about a dozen times, including three times at Navarro’s house while his wife was away, according to the report. They had sex during these encounters, the report said. Navarro also gave the woman prescription pills, she told police, which Navarro claimed to have an unlimited supply. The type of pill is redacted in the report, as is the medical condition for which Navarro was prescribed the pills. However, the woman said she had to spend the night after taking the medication because it rendered her unable to drive.
In May, Oregon State Police opened a criminal investigation into Navarro based on the allegations that he gave out prescription medication. However, the statute of limitations on the alleged crime had past and the criminal investigation, was closed.
At the end of 2003, the woman got married and stopped talking to Navarro.
When questioned about the conduct in May, Navarro said he knew the woman as an inmate and a waitress at IHOP.
“I swear to God, I have never, never, ever had any contact with her other than at IHOP and at the jail,” he said.
When questioned further, he said the woman’s Facebook profile popped up on his Facebook page about 2013, and he sent her a message along the lines of “you’re looking good.” Navarro said he meant it as a compliment. Navarro said contact ended there. When asked if he had had sexual contact with the woman, Navarro responded “Sir, no sir,” the report shows.
When pressed, Navarro admitted to contacting her again via Facebook a couple of years ago asking her how she was doing. He said he had seen dispatch notes indicating the woman called because she had been locked out of her house by her husband and he wanted to make sure she was all right.
However, Facebook messages supplied to investigators by the woman show Navarro had contacted her on April 10, less than a month earlier, sending her 12 messages. The woman sent one short reply.
Later in the interview, Navarro said he must have gotten the dates mixed up, but that the contact was one-sided and innocent.
In 2004, Navarro gave his cell number to another former inmate, according to the report. When released, she contacted him. Navarro picked her up from a halfway house and drove her to the Blackhorse Saloon, where they drank, according to the report. After, they went to Shari’s for coffee. Both denied any sexual contact, and Navarro was suspended for a day without pay.
Navarro’s first accuser had told police that Navarro had a sexual relationship with another inmate who was a dancer at Stars Cabaret. She said she knew this because the two women had a mutual friend. When asked about the woman, Navarro said he knew her from the jail and had seen her at Stars, but denied having a relationship with her.
Throughout, Navarro continued to deny anything physical or inappropriate took place with a former inmate. McMaster said he found Navarro’s lies disappointing, and that it made the matter far worse.
“We can’t trust people like that,” he said. “The public can’t trust people like that”
— Reporter: 541-383-0376, email@example.com