Sunday, February 7 , 2016, 7:47 am | Fair 44º

Ex-Santa Barbara Cop Gets Jail Time in Lewd-Conduct Case

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | updated logo 3:49 p.m. |

Former Santa Barbara police officer Brian Kenneth Sawicki was sentenced Friday to 10 days in jail, and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve three years probation. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)
Former Santa Barbara police officer Brian Kenneth Sawicki was sentenced Friday to 10 days in jail, and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve three years probation. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

A former Santa Barbara police officer convicted of destroying evidence and resisting arrest in a lewd-conduct case was sentenced Friday to 10 days in jail.

Brian Kenneth Sawicki also was fined $2,000 and placed on three years probation by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Kay Kuns during the hearing in Santa Maria.

Sawicki will be allowed to apply to the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP), which involves being assigned to work sites throughout the county in lieu of spending time behind bars.

Last week, a Santa Maria jury returned a mixed verdict on charges stemming from a 2009 incident during which Sawicki, 36, allegedly exposed himself to two teenage girls — and engaged in unlawful electronic peeping —at Refugio State Beach.

Sawicki was acquitted of three misdemeanor charges — annoying or molesting a child, lewd conduct in public, and unlawful electronic peeping.

He was convicted of misdemeanor counts of destroying evidence and resisting arrest.

The case centered on the events of Aug. 10, 2009, when two 13-year-old girls told authorities they thought a man was following them along a trail on a secluded area of Refugio beach.

They testified that they later saw him naked and masturbating on the beach as they approached.

The girls alerted an on-duty state park ranger, who tried to approach Sawicki before he allegedly ran away. He was later caught and arrested.

After hearing his sentence Friday, Sawicki sat emotionless, sporting a trial-long attitude that Kuns said had prompted her to choose the harsher end of punishment.

Sawicki, who resigned after his arrest, faced a maximum of two years in jail and $2,000 in fines for the two charges he was convicted of.

Kuns sided with all of Deputy District Attorney Brook Gerard’s sentencing suggestions, even saying that she would’ve granted further punishment if the prosecution had asked for it.

Kuns granted stay-away orders that stipulate Sawicki cannot have contact with the two teenage girls or their families. Sawicki must also stay away from Refugio Beach, and was ordered to turn over his stealth camera, digital camera and high-tech binoculars.

While Sawicki’s attorney, Michael Scott, conceded that Sawicki did delete an erotic video from his camera and ran from a park ranger, he said Sawicki has already been punished.

“This case had nothing to do with interest in underage girls,” Scott said. “He’s basically been on three years probation since this began. He’ll never work in law enforcement again. His savings are pretty much gone.

“What did he do? He made a mistake. It was a three-minute pursuit; nobody was harmed. He lost a great deal because of his decision to not stop for the ranger.”

Scott said Sawicki had no intention of contacting the girls, but he questioned whether he should have to turn over his electronic devices.

Gerard countered that Sawicki was at a beach that park rangers testified is an area where families often go.

“The defendant resigning his position is not a punishment,” she added.

Kuns agreed, noting that she was also considering Sawicki’s actions in charges that he was acquitted of, as allowed by law.

“The court finds that there were some aggravating circumstances,” Kuns said. “The notion and circumstance of the conduct in this case were disturbing to say the least. The conduct itself was disturbing.”

The judge also said she didn’t believe Sawicki’s testimony was completely truthful, and was upset by the fact that Sawicki so willingly evaded an officer.

“I wasn’t very impressed with Mr. Sawicki’s attitude at times,” Kuns said. “Mr. Sawicki was a police officer. He was going up a hill with a backpack… He would’ve been gone. There was no change in his attitude… I think if Mr. Sawicki wants to sunbath, he’ll have to find a beach much further south or north.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 11.16.12 @ 02:29 PM

I love it when bad cops are sent to jail.  What a scum bag.

» on 11.16.12 @ 04:08 PM

Didn’t you read the article? He’s getting “swap” time… NO JAIL TIME BEHIND BARS… ugh.
And btw- how are you guilty of destroying evidence then not guilty of the crime??

» on 11.16.12 @ 07:08 PM

This is crap…probation and a fine would have been enough…I’ve seen convicted child molesters and drunk drivers get less time!

» on 11.16.12 @ 07:28 PM

Some one needs to go attend Headlines 101.  He did NOT get jail time.  The sentence was fairly run of the mill for a low grade misdemeanor.  You would get more punishment for a DUI.  He will pay a $2000 fine, do about 50 hours of community service, and be on informal probation.  At the end of probation, the charges will be expunged.

Don’t lose track of what really happened here.  A jury of eight women and four men from our community (A retired teacher, business owner, prison administrator, computer scientist, ...amongst them)found Sawicki NOT GUILTY of the serious charges.  Not 6 to 5, not 11 to 1, ALL TWELVE, unanimously, NOT GUILTY.

» on 11.16.12 @ 07:32 PM

The destroying evidence charge was for deleting the nude photograph of himself that he took for his girlfriend.  It was evidence of the crime of nude sunbathing.  A hyper-technical violation.

» on 11.16.12 @ 09:22 PM

Actually , Mesa mom and others should re-read the article. He WAS senteced to jail time.
  First paragraph - “Former Santa Barbara police officer convicted of destroying evidence and resisting arrest in a lewd-conduct case was sentenced Friday to 10 days in jail.’

» on 11.17.12 @ 12:39 PM

The headline should be “Yet Another Cop Gets Off with Slap on Wrist”. First Kasi Beutel, now this creep.  Did you read what he did?  Video taped people in a public bathroom?  Children getting undressed!  Did the district attorney contact the victims? Where are their rights?  Where is the mandatory reporting of child abuse and endangerment?  The local court system has no interest in prosecuting local police.  Most people would get a harsher sentence if they park illegally at UCSB. 
You may say he was innocent, but he does not deny video taping people in bathrooms and running around naked and playing with himself in public.  A real winner!

» on 11.18.12 @ 01:33 AM

I’m a bit more concerned about Krooked Kasi - how many lives did she ruin with bogus DUI citations.  BTW, that is the reason the city won’t move on her - if she’s guilty then a whole bunch of DUI cases will come back to haunt…

» on 11.18.12 @ 05:23 AM

Krooked Kasi -  Crazy how they made her employee of the year…Go into the station…insane…

» on 11.18.12 @ 05:27 AM

officer Brian Kenneth Sawicki is good looking…I don’t understand why he did what he did. He is human like everybody else… he with out mistake/sin throw the first stone…

» on 11.18.12 @ 04:49 PM

@concerned for california…...“The local court system has no interest in prosecuting local police”??  The DA spent three years and tens of thousands of dollars to prosecute this guy.  They refused to negotiate a plea bargain and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible by going all the way to a full jury trial.  That jury heard the case and reached their verdict.  The judge chose the sentence.  Deal with it

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