Sacto 9-1-1
September 24, 2013
Veteran Sacramento County sheriff's deputy arrested on molestation charges

By Phillip Reese
preese@sacbee.com

A veteran Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy has been arrested on suspicion of child molestation in Nevada County.

Donald Michael Black, 43, faces five counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a child who is 14 or 15 years old, according to Sgt. Dan Saunders of the Nevada County Sheriff's Department. Deputies have identified one victim, Saunders said, and are investigating whether there are more.

Black was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Nevada County Jail, where he remained late Tuesday night.

Saunders said Nevada County officials would release more information about the case Wednesday.

Black is a 23-year veteran of the sheriff's department, said department Sgt. Lisa Bowman. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of Nevada County's investigation.

Black has been in the news several times in recent years as a focus of claims of police brutality.

As a jail sergeant in 2006, he ordered several inmates to lie down in their cells following an inmate protest. Deputies quickly tossed stun grenades into the cells without seeing if Black's orders had been followed, according to a district attorney's investigation following the incident.

Two inmates were burned when the grenades exploded next to their prone bodies, another inmate's nose and teeth were broken in a scuffle with deputies afterward, according to the investigation.

The district attorney's office said the incident raised "significant questions" but said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Black or other deputies. The county later paid more than $300,000 to settle complaints resulting from the incidents.

In 2007, Black and Deputy Matthew Tamayo stopped and questioned a local man named Jerry Ganas Jr. for allegedly using methamphetamine. Ganas said one of the deputies pointed a gun at him and "it clicked, it dry-fired," he said.

The county paid $90,000 to settle a claim by Ganas. It was never clear whether Tamayo or Black allegedly pointed the gun at Ganas.

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