Adams County sheriff’s deputy accused of coercing a drunken driver into having sex in his work vehicle no longer works for the department, according to the sheriff and documents obtained by the Statesman.
Brian R. Yoakum left the Sheriff’s Office in October 2014, Sheriff Ryan Zollman said.
Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training decertified Yoakum in May 2015 after an investigation into violations of peace officer codes of conduct and ethics, records show. A criminal investigation into the matter did not produce charges, with an Idaho deputy attorney general suggesting the encounter might have been consensual.
Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman is named along with Yoakum in a federal lawsuit filed this March by the driver, a Caldwell woman who was 34 at the time she spoke to investigators.
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“Sergeant Brian Yoakum was not properly vetted, supervised and/or trained by Adams County and/or the Adams County Sheriff’s Office,” the lawsuit claims.
Zollman referred all other questions about the lawsuit to the county’s insurer, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program.
A call to an ICRMP official Tuesday was not returned. Attorney Joe Filicetti said he represented Yoakum during the criminal investigation but is not for the civil trial.
Zollman, who is up for re-election this fall, has been under intense scrutiny since two other deputies — Brian Wood and Cody Roland — were involved in the fatal shooting of Council rancher Jack Yantis at the scene of a crash involving a car and Yantis’ bull last November.
The accusations against Yoakum stem from an encounter on March 31, 2014, in the town of New Meadows.
Yoakum and Wood were following up with a man and woman in an out-of-town SUV who drew attention at a local market, where the male of the duo had been panhandling, Yoakum told Idaho State Police investigators. The pair left the market and parked at a local school.
The plaintiff was sitting in the driver’s seat of the SUV. She had a fifth of vodka in her lap and was intoxicated from drinking all day, her lawsuit says.
The deputies determined that the driver’s male companion, Jose Luis Morales Carillo, had outstanding warrants from Ada County. Wood took him into custody and transported him to the jail.
After Wood left, the lawsuit says, Yoakum told the woman to drive her car to a secluded area near some trees about 100 yards away and to stay there because she was too drunk to drive.
The suit alleges that he returned three times that night. The woman used her cellphone to record audio of them talking during one encounter.
The deputy “convinced [her] to exit the vehicle for the purposes of a sexual encounter,” the lawsuit says, and “placed [her] face down on the car seat of his Sheriff’s Office SUV and had intercourse.”
About six months later, the victim mailed a citizen report about the incident to the Sheriff’s Office. In September 2014, ISP opened an investigation.
The woman told ISP investigators that she didn’t immediately report what happened because “initially she did not remember the incident.” A couple of months later, she found a 13-minute recording of her interaction with Yoakum on her phone. She said she made the recording because she believed the deputy’s intentions were suspicious after he didn’t arrest her for DUI.
She gave contradictory statements to ISP about whether she consented, first saying “she felt like she was in no condition to consent to sex” but then later saying he had not raped her because she had consented, ISP said.
When he was interviewed, Yoakum told police that the woman had been aggressively asking to have sex with him. Initially, he told investigators there was no sexual contact, but he relented later in the interview and said there was.
“He said he was instantly remorseful,” the ISP report states. “He said he takes full responsibility for letting it all happen.”
In a letter declining prosecution, Deputy Attorney General Paul Panther said the audio from the woman’s phone indicates that she and the deputy engaged in sexual banter and she offered to engage in oral sex.
The letter further states there were no other witnesses or other evidence.
“There is no evidence that Yoakum used force, a threat or any other type of coercion,” Panther wrote.
Though the woman asserted she was too drunk to consent to sex, he wrote, she had the “presence of mind” to record the encounter on her phone.
Yoakum worked for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office twice, POST records show. He worked part time for a month and a half in 1993. He was hired to work full time in 2009 and received basic POST certification in 2010.