October 14, 2009 in Idaho

Post Falls candidate served probation in groping case

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A candidate for mayor of Post Falls served probation after a woman he worked with accused him of sexually assaulting her.

The misdemeanor battery charge was dismissed after Steven De Gon, a private investigator, complied with the court’s requirements, records show.

De Gon, 44, denies the accusation and said he served probation due to personal reasons that he declined to reveal. He said the case was dismissed and he wouldn’t be able to serve as a private investigator in Idaho if he were guilty of battery.

“None of that happened. There were circumstances and reasons why I did the probation,” De Gon said Wednesday. “They’re reasons I’m not getting into.”

The court file shows De Gon served 16 hours of community labor in lieu of jail time. It says the victim requested and received a “no contact” order two months after the incident because De Gon was calling her supervisor weekly and making defamatory statements about her.

In the Nov. 3 general election, De Gon is challenging Clay Larkin, the city’s mayor since 2001, in a three-way race that also includes Matthew Behringer, a 24-year-old call center worker.

A Post Falls Police Department report says De Gon, 44, was working as a subcontractor for a title company around 5 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2005. A female employee said he grabbed her breasts and her buttocks and put his hands down her pants, a police report says. The report says De Gon fondled her as she repeatedly attempted to get away.

The woman told a co-worker about the incident the next morning and then called the police, who described her as “upset and crying” when contacted.

The Spokesman-Review does not name victims of sexual crimes.

The ensuing investigation involved a recorded telephone call between the woman and De Gon, in which he admitted the activity, the report says. Idaho law requires only one party to consent to recording phone conversations.

Detective David Beck then contacted De Gon and interviewed him. The report says De Gon initially lied about the incident until presented with the recorded conversation. In a voluntary statement to police, De Gon admitted touching her buttocks and breast, but said it was all “joking around” and “in fun.” He said he didn’t mean to “hurt anyone’s feelings.”

The report says: “Steven admitted he had been lying to me and that (the woman) had been telling the truth. Steven acknowledged that he was guilty of unlawful touching … and that he had crossed the line.”

De Gon said Wednesday the police report is incorrect. “The charges were dismissed and that’s where I’m leaving it.”


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