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Accused Candidate Loses Key Backer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The sheriff’s sergeant and candidate for Palmdale City Council who was arrested on suspicion of child molestation lost a key endorsement, while his campaign staff decided Saturday to moderate their efforts.

Sgt. Kevin Wright Carney, who was released after posting bond Friday night, had been viewed as a top candidate among the 13 vying for two four-year seats on the City Council, said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.

Assemblyman George Runner, (R-Lancaster) had endorsed Carney but publicly withdrew his support Friday.

“In light of these allegations, I cannot support him,” Runner said in a statement. “And if these allegations are true, Carney must remove himself from the election.”

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The candidate’s campaign staff, who insist that the molestation accusations are false, said Carney is not quitting. But they decided Saturday to stop making phone calls and putting up posters because they don’t want to draw more attention to Carney, said Bob Henn, assistant campaign manager.

“The way I see it, we’re probably going to lose now,” Henn said.

Carney, a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who works at the Lancaster station, did not return phone calls Saturday.

He was arrested Friday after a 14-year-old girl told detectives that Carney, 48, had molested her, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said Saturday.

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Sheriff’s officials said the molestation charges were not related to the election, in which two four-year seats, a two-year seat and the mayor’s office are up for grabs on the five-member council.

“We didn’t arrest him based on any political motivations,” said Sgt. Irma Becerra, a sheriff’s spokeswoman. “We arrested him on allegations by a 14-year-old girl.”

Nearly the same turn of events unfolded two years ago.

In 1997, Carney ran for mayor of Palmdale, and 10 days before the election two young girls accused him of molesting them, according to a sheriff’s spokesman and Palmdale politicians. Charges were never filed in that case, but Carney lost the election by more than 20% to incumbent Mayor Ledford.

Carney has been on the board of the Antelope Valley Union High School District for four years and once served as a supervisor of a child abuse investigations unit in the Sheriff’s Department.


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