With the stories about John Lang, Jose Moralez, and now Dylan Noble getting a massive amount of attention online, another story has inevitably become a topic of discussion on social media in the last year: Chief Dyer’s alleged past relationships with underage girls. Many are wondering, is this just a rumor or is Jerry Dyer actually a child rapist?
To answer this question, I’ll be citing a Fresno Bee article from 2001 written by Doug Hoagland (republished by Judy Hanson in 2010 on Indybay.org)
The original article, published July 22, 2001, was titled: “Cops twice probed allegation Dyer had affair with girl , 16 – New Fresno chief, city officials won’t answer questions about problems early in his career.”
The article states Chief Dyer twice faced accusations that he had sex with an underage girl in the mid-1980s, according to police sources.
The accusations were never made public but did trigger separate investigations inside the Fresno Police Department. Neither investigation led to criminal charges against Dyer.
One of Doug’s police sources told him that Dyer privately admitted when the accusation first surfaced that he had engaged in sex with the girl.
Another source said a decade later, Dyer neither admitted nor denied the alleged sexual activity when confronted with a citizen’s inquiry.
Dyer, then 42-years-old, would not discuss the accusations when he was interviewed by The Fresno Bee.
“I’m not going to sit here before you and confirm those things or deny those things … ” he said.
“All I can tell you is that the relationships that I have had outside of my marriage, when I was a young man, have been dealt with . … God’s forgiven me. My wife’s forgiven me. This department’s forgiven me and looked into a lot of things in my past.”
Here are the details, according to The Fresno Bee:
The mother of the underage girl says her husband accused Dyer of taking advantage of the girl and beginning the sexual relationship in the mid-1980s. As a result, the mother said, the girl went to police headquarters when she was 16 to take a lie-detector test. The father died last October.
The mother says she’s not sure whether her daughter, who became very emotional at police headquarters, took the lie-detector test.
The girl turned 16 in 1985. Dyer was 26 that year, married and working as a Fresno police officer. They met at the now-closed Danae’s gym in Fresno, according to the girl’s mother.
The girl, in 2001, was a 32-year-old woman who wasn’t interested in talking with reporters.
However, Doug says he talked to her in a telephone call she initiated:
…she made ambiguous statements about Dyer . At first, she said they were friends and her father “was wrong.”
Then she tearfully confided she has no secrets from her husband and wanted to shield her children. She declined to answer the question: Did Dyer have sex with her when she was underage?
Then-Mayor Alan Autry declined to say if he knew of the allegations involving Dyer and the 16-year-old.
“I’m not going to get into an itemization of what took place in private conversations with Jerry Dyer … because where does it end?” Autry said. “The things I heard I didn’t feel disqualified him from leading this city and heading the police department.”
Autry described Dyer as a friend and he was an early supporter of Dyer’s candidacy. Then-City Manager Dan Hobbs, who worked for Autry, selected Dyer for the chief of police.
In announcing the selection, Hobbs said that the new chief had “personal history issues that need to be recognized and have been.” But Hobbs refused to answer questions of that history to television reporters.
Hobbs later explained his statements this way: Dyer has spoken of his past, “extensively” in private, less so in public; “different versions” of his personal story are circulating in the community; his past had to be acknowledged because it’s a weakness in his qualifications; Dyer’s right to privacy needed to be respected.
“To the extent that he wants to elaborate on any of this stuff, that’s up to Jerry,” Hobbs said. Asked whether he knew about the alleged affair with the 16 -year-old, Hobbs said, “I think everything I needed to know in making the decision I’m aware of and comfortable with . I’m not going to respond to allegations .”
Reporters at The Fresno Bee interviewed more than 40 people over a two-month period since Dyer was mentioned as the leading candidate for police chief. Including several longtime officers with reservations about Dyer’s fitness to be police chief because of his past behavior.
Dyer discussed his past — including a long-running affair , public fighting and excessive drinking — when he spoke in February 1999 at Northwest Church, one of Fresno’s largest congregations. He was invited to speak at Sunday services by the late Bufe Karraker, pastor at Northwest.
Dyer told the Northwest parishioners that adultery is accepted, “encouraged, in fact,” in law enforcement: “Most police officers drank excessively and had a girlfriend even though they were married. And I think that is the way we are today in society, whether we are Christian or not. As long as society accepts it, and sometimes encourages it, we continue to do it. … That is why today we see in law enforcement a divorce rate of over 90%; because of the things police officers do.”
A transcript of Dyer ‘s talk was posted on the church’s Web site, but has since been removed.
In his talk at Northwest, Dyer said his then-estranged wife appeared one night at an apartment where he and his lover were quarreling and the two women ended up comparing rings he had purchased for them. Dyer said the two women also sat on a couch and compared stories about him: “They told of what a rotten person that I was, and they were absolutely right, at the time.”
The Bee could not determine whether the 16 -year-old is the lover Dyer referred to in his talk at Northwest.
Dyer also said at the church: “I certainly regret the things I have done over the years, but I can’t change them. The life I led back then, the experiences that I gained are what made me the person I am today.”
He continued: “It is impossible, virtually impossible, for me to judge another person. I believe in second chances. I won’t give up on people. I believe that everyone is salvageable because everyone is savable. I believe in those second chances because God gave me a second chance in my life, with my family and with my career.”
Additionally, Dyer said he was investigated by the Internal Affairs office many times: ” … sometimes I was in the Internal Affairs office more than I was in my police car.”
But he never mentioned the investigations of his alleged sexual affair with an underage girl.
Sex between an adult and a minor qualifies as either unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18, if the sex is consensual, or rape, if the minor is forced, according to the California Department of Justice. Rape is a felony. Unlawful sexual intercourse, also known as statutory rape, can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on circumstances.
The statute of limitations varied in the mid-1980s: six years for rape and one or three years for statutory rape.
The mid-1980s coincide with Dyer’s early tenure at the Fresno Police Department. In his talk at Northwest, he said he enjoyed the fear, if not the respect, of officers who worked for him. He also said he was “making good money” and bought a new home, a boat, a Corvette sports car, a motorcycle and a membership at Fresno’s Sunnyside Country Club.
Dyer said he was obsessed with lifting weights, working out at a gym three or four hours a day, seven days a week.
Dyer frequented Danae’s gym, a small building on Blackstone Avenue south of Shields Avenue. Patrons pumped their way to fitness on weight machines; the gym offered none of the amenities associated with the modern sweat factories. No aerobic classes. No juice bars.
The girl also frequented Danae’s gym, with her family.
A woman who also went to the gym says Dyer “dated” the girl , who she said was 14 or 15. In a follow-up interview, the woman declined to comment further, saying: “People can change and everyone has skeletons. Our mayor has skeletons. The president has skeletons.”
The girl’s mother said she doesn’t know what made her then-husband (they later divorced) suspect Dyer of having sex with their daughter.
But she did offer this insight:
“[My daughter] was very rebellious at the time and her father went overboard in authoritarianism. She was easy prey,” she said.
The girl’s mother said Dyer came to their house one evening and met with husband, whom she described as “very, very angry.”
Her husband “might” have then filed a complaint against Dyer with the Police Department, the woman said. She was definite about what happened next: Her daughter went to police headquarters to take a lie-detector test.
“I do remember being there at the police station and [the daughter] being there,” the woman said.
According to a police source, Dyer was anxious about the test and feared what might happen to him.
When Dyer admitted to the source that he had sex with the girl, the source said he told Dyer he didn’t want to know anything more.
No legal action was taken against Dyer . The source says he doesn’t know why. If the girl wouldn’t cooperate with police, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office would have had a hard time pursuing a legal complaint against Dyer, lawyers say.
Ed Hunt, Fresno County’s district attorney since 1983, said he doesn’t remember getting a police report outlining the allegation against Dyer : “That’s not to say it didn’t happen. But I don’t recall that. I get reports all the time that turn out to be unfounded.”
The girl’s mother says she never asked her daughter whether she and Dyer had sex.
“I never brought up the subject again,” the mother said. “It’s not something I wanted to remind her of.”
But the alleged relationship surfaced again:
It was triggered by Dyer serving as spokesman for the Fresno Police Department, a job he held from September 1995 to May 1997, according to his resume. In that job, he routinely appeared on television.
A woman called the Police Department and wanted to know how the department could put Dyer on television when he had had sex with a minor, according to another police source who asked for anonymity.
As a result, Chief Winchester ordered an Internal Affairs investigation. That made sense, the police source said: “The chief could [now] say, ‘Yes, I’ve looked into this.’ He doesn’t have to say he summarily dismissed the case. I think what the chief did was appropriate.”
Winchester declined comment on this investigation during an interview Friday with The Bee. He said he would not discuss a personnel issue. When asked why he couldn’t talk about what could have been a criminal matter involving the new police chief, Winchester said: “I’m not going to discuss personnel matters.”
During the Winchester-ordered Internal Affairs investigation, Dyer made references to an earlier investigation of him on the sex charge, the police source said.
The source also said Dyer gave ambiguous answers during the Internal Affairs investigation.
“There was no admission and no outright denial,” the police source said.
Dyer said he “couldn’t recall” what the complaining caller was talking about, the source said.
Dyer also said he had done things in his past he wasn’t proud of, that he had found God in the intervening years and was now a changed man, according to the source.
In Thursday’s interview, Dyer said The Bee was trying to bring up “parts of my distant life. I mean, you’re talking about the early ’80s. I don’t know that those things are relevant today. I’ve shared with you the type of person I was back in the ’80s, and I’ve shared with you the person I am today.”
Dyer said he was “a sinner” in the 1980s, but after becoming a Christian he has missed church only once in the last 10 years.
After refusing to discuss the alleged affair involving the 16 -year-old, Dyer told The Bee, “You know, you can make the point that people have a right to know. I don’t know. But I do know that the people who did have a right to know were the people that chose me. And I have fulfilled my obligation to them.”
Dyer said he spoke of his past to Autry, Hobbs and Napa police psychologist William Mathis, who was hired by Hobbs to do a psychological assessment of Dyer .
Asked whether he told Autry, Hobbs and Mathis that the allegation involving the 16 -year-old wasn’t true, Dyer said, “Why would I get into those issues with you? I’ve given them the information so they can make an accurate decision of my life. I have made them aware of all of the things that I’ve done. The rumors. Things that are true. The things that aren’t true. I’ve done all of that.”
Autry said it would set a “destructive” precedent for him to divulge private information that Dyer shared with him: “Jerry already has gone way beyond what’s expected … ”
Autry said it would be “a different story” if Dyer had an arrest record: “[But] I’m not going to divulge anything of a private off-the-record meeting that was private and confidential in nature.”
Autry said he felt no obligation to explain Hobbs’ comments about Dyer ‘s “personal history issues.” Hobbs said at Wednesday’s news conference that people could learn more about Dyer ‘s past by attending meetings of “various faith-based groups” where Dyer has spoken of his history.
But even in those settings, Dyer said, he has not gone into every detail about his past: ” … I think I’d be a fool to do that because we all need to be guarded about certain things.”
Autry said it wouldn’t be wise for the city “to try and comb the nation and find someone who’s never made a mistake. I think it’s a better use of time to find someone who has clearly learned from his or her mistakes and proven over a long period of time that they’re not going to repeat them.”
Hobbs said Dyer can be an effective chief despite a troubled past:
“He is so rock solid now and has so many people working with him that he’s seen as an example of all of us who have weaknesses. Anybody can build on their strengths. The person who really succeeds is the one who builds on their weaknesses … ”
Hobbs said Dyer enjoys the support of faith-based groups and minority groups: “When they look at him they see a full-dimension man, not a man who has sailed through life unchallenged and with no mistakes.”
Autry said Dyer ‘s steady promotions in the Fresno Police Department also speak well of him. Dyer was promoted to sergeant in 1985, lieutenant in 1993, captain in 1997, deputy chief in 1999 and assistant chief that same year.
In his personal life, Dyer has tried to repair relationships. Stan Barron, a Fresno police officer who attends church with Dyer , said the new chief has publicly apologized for the hurt he caused his wife before he became a Christian.
In Thursday’s interview, Dyer said he couldn’t speculate why sources have given details of the alleged affair .
Then he changed his mind and offered a few reasons.
“They don’t want to see me as police chief,” he said. “Or there’s jealousy. Or even things that are true in my life — why would people talk about those things today? Because I’m getting ready to assume the position of police chief and they’re trying to prevent that from occurring or interfere with the process, I don’t know.”
Dyer became police chief Aug. 2001.
Another law enforcement official who knows Dyer said he will bring considerable talent, and considerable baggage, to his new job.
“Anybody who tells you that he is not talented, smart or charismatic isn’t being straightforward,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “He has all three of those qualities in abundance.”
“He also has engaged in some behaviors that people go to jail for.“