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Harassment Claiming Filed Involving Former Santa Barbara County Undersheriff

Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 3:01pm

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Team volunteer filed a sexual harassment claim with the county involving the department’s undersheriff, who retired earlier this year.

Valerie Walston filed the claim against Jim Peterson, who left the law enforcement agency after 30 years with the department.

Walston claims she was pressured into having a relationship with Peterson, because she thought it would hurt her opportunities with the department if she didn’t.

Peterson cited personal reasons at the time of his resignation in October.

Sheriff Bill Brown says he ordered an internal investigation when he heard about the allegations.

In a statement, Brown says while he can’t talk about the findings because of the legal situation, he says there is much more to the full story.

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