Visalia Officer Accused of Sexual Misconduct Speaks Out

Visalia CA Officer /*Bryan Pinto*/ says he's being wrongly accused by a young man who he believes, is simply out for money.

Bryan Pinto says he's being falsely accused by a now, 18 year old young man with a greedy motive. Pinto says the accuser has come over to his home before, but he denies anything sexual happened between the two.

In fact, he says the accuser was more friends with his partner than him.

Bryan Pinto says he's shocked and angry about the latest allegations made in court documents filed Monday, accusing him of having a sexual relationship with a senior at Mount Whitney High.

"None of that ever happened. Absolutely not, never," said Pinto.

Pinto says the accuser, who we are not identifying because he was a minor at the time, is making up the allegations for financial gain to tarnish the officer's name.

Pinto said, "I need to get my word out there and get the truth out there."

Pinto says the accusations are also suspicious because they were made just days after he won a prestigious award for making 57 DUI arrests.

An internal affairs investigation is still underway. Pinto is expecting to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

"Absolutely I've done nothing wrong in this situation. There was never anything that crossed any lines, anything that was unprofessional nothing that occurred on duty, off duty to be accused of anything," said Pinto.

According to a search warrant, officers searched Pinto's Visalia home in May after investigators used a forensic device to retrieve two text messages from Pinto's iphone. Both were sent to the accuser and are sexual in nature.

The Tulare County District Attorney's Office told Action News after a thorough investigation, they are not pursuing any criminal charges.

Pinto claims the accuser is a wayward teen merely after deep pockets.

Pinto said, "I think money is ultimately the factor here."

Melina Benninghoff is Pinto's attorney, she says she hired an investigator who also came to the conclusion there is no evidence to support the claims.

Benninghoff said, "The allegations of sexual misconduct are completely unfounded. Completely unfounded. My client did absolutely nothing wrong. He just was a vulnerable target."

Pinto says he's confident the truth will eventually come out.

"It hurts to know that people would think that I would put myself in that situation again after everything that I've already been through and everything that I've already worked so hard to do so good at the Visalia Police Department that this accusation has now brought everything to a screeching halt again," said Pinto.

Pinto was fired in 2003 for similar misconduct allegations. But after a jury trial cleared him of those charges, he also won his job back. The Visalia Police Department said they have no comment on anything relating to Officer Pinto.

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