Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/14/2010 10:06:10 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Second Ward Councilman Jason Desjardins asserted Wednesday that he faces character assassination for opposing proposed tax hikes and City Charter changes.

The attack, Desjardins maintained, includes the revelation that he was investigated – but never charged – for rape and other crimes during his law- enforcement career.

The former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy blamed the attack on Mayor Pat Morris and the mayor’s “puppets” and “cronies.”

“These attacks against my law enforcement service are false,” Desjardins wrote in a statement. “They will NOT deter me from standing up for the hard-working families of the 2nd Ward who oppose Mayor Morris’ attempts to raise taxes and take away their right to directly elect our City Attorney, City Clerk and City Treasurer.”

Los Angeles County officials decided not to charge Desjardins in 2006. He said Wednesday he has been exonerated and will not discuss the specifics of the investigations.

Desjardins also wrote that law-enforcement officers often face false accusations from criminals who want to diminish officers’ reputations.

“I don’t want to try my past career in the newspaper,” Desjardins said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The mayor could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

His chief of staff, Jim Morris, called Desjardins’ comments “utterly ludicrous.”

Other politicians’ reactions ranged from concern to outrage over old allegations being thrust into the spotlight if there were newer charges.

Third Ward Councilman Tobin Brinker said there is nothing to worry about, but he wonders if there is more to learn.

“If there wasn’t enough to press charges. It shouldn’t be an issue,” Brinker said. “But it seems as if there’s more (to be revealed).”

Seventh Ward Councilwoman Wendy McCammack was livid.

“Unless this is something that affects his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as an elected official, it’s hearsay and more gossip for the tabloids,” she said.

Documents obtained by The Sun show charges of rape, brandishing a firearm and witness intimidation were turned down. There was insufficient evidence to press charges, records show.

Prosecutors rejected two rape charges in March 2006. The other charges were turned down in June 2006.

Desjardins said July 7 that he would be behind bars if any of the allegations were true.

Desjardins’ law enforcement career ended in 2007. He has said he left the Sheriff’s Department to concentrate on his companies outside the Los Angeles area. He owns Big Z Towing in San Bernardino and has other interests in towing and auto wrecking.

He entered city politics in 2009 while protesting plans to establish a city-run impound yard that would enable the Police Department to collect fees from vehicle owners.

The council rejected that proposal last year. The idea has returned as officials struggle with budget deficits.

Desjardins has said he will divest himself of Big Z and has recused himself from talks on the impound yard.

The publicity surrounding what happened more than four years ago in Los Angeles County comes at a time when Desjardins faces scrutiny in San Bernardino.

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