Officer fabricated assaults, sheriff says
Representatives for the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department have announced their belief that Sergeant Todd Posch, a correctional officer at High Desert State Prison, fabricated two strange incidents in which he reported being attacked.
According to a press release written by Investigations Sergeant Steve Peay, the department’s dispatch center reported receiving a 911 report Wednesday, Feb. 3, from Posch.
The release said Posch reported a vehicle struck him in the early morning in front of his Greenville residence and that Posch reported the vehicle fled the scene.
It added that Posch was taken to Plumas District Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released the next day.
The release indicated deputies and investigators were dispatched to the hospital and the scene and later determined “Posch’s allegations were false and fabricated.”
The release continued, “Further investigation revealed that the early morning attack on Posch at the Highway 147 rest stop back in March of 2009 proved to be fabricated by Posch as well.”
In a phone interview, Sheriff Greg Hagwood said Posch confessed to detectives that he fabricated both incidents and inflicted the injuries upon himself.
Hagwood explained investigators confiscated a utility knife that they determined Posch had used to severely lacerate his legs to support his hit-and-run story.
“The investigators led by Sergeant Steve Peay did a tremendous job in exposing these circumstances for what they truly were,” he added.
The release concluded, “The circumstances surrounding these two events and entire investigation will be submitted to the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office.”
Hagwood elaborated further on this point.
“I will be pursing restitution for the sheriff’s department to recoup the thousands and thousands of dollars that were expended investigating an absolutely false reported crime.”
The sheriff said the costs of the investigation into the rest stop incident in March “far exceeded $100,000.”
Most of that expenditure was incurred by the state, but the county conducted its own investigation that also contributed to the number.
In the original rest stop assault report, Posch claimed that two or three Hispanic gang members attacked him.
“The fear this caused in our communities was tremendous,” Hagwood added.
“Instances like these are very, very harmful to a community’s sense of well-being.”
Addressing the racial component of Posch’s claims, Hagwood commented, “It does not help the cultural co-existence in these communities at all, and the numbers of Hispanic citizens in Plumas County or outside Plumas County that were contacted or detained or stopped is just an outrage.”
The Department of Corrections did not return a call for comment by press time.