Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/22/2010 06:15:59 PM PST

BARSTOW – Barstow Mayor Joseph Dennis Gomez Jr. was charged with sexual battery on Monday, two months after a police officer’s wife reported that he assaulted her during a holiday party.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators have been looking into the Dec. 18 incident, which allegedly took place in an unincorporated area of the desert city.

Gomez, who has not been arrested, is scheduled to be arraigned April 9. He faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Steven Sinfield.

Details of the alleged assault have not been released.

The mayor could not be reached for comment Monday. He has not responded to past calls and e-mails for comments.

But at a City Council meeting earlier this month, Gomez tearfully declared his innocence and said he chose to remain silent so the investigation could run its course.

“I intend to defend myself vigorously against this false allegation,” he said at the meeting.

The mayor’s family and supporters also defended him at the meeting, calling him an honorable man and saying the accusation is intended to politically slaughter Gomez, who has been mayor for two years.

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