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Eureka, Humbolt County--
Trinidad police chief Don Littlefeather Rivas was released from Humbolt County Jail today, but residents of the small Humbolt county coast town are likely to feel a lack of confidence in public officials for some time to come. Former Trinidad Treasure Phyllis Sharum entered a not guilty plea last Wednesday to grand theft, misappropriation of public funds, and falsifying public records.
Following Sharum's not guilty plea, Rivas was arrested last Wednesday after attending the courthouse hearing for Sharum. Rivas had assisted the State Attorney General's office in the investigation of the former treasurer. He was apparently unaware that he, too, was under investigation.
Rivas was arrested for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old Arcata girl. If convicted, he would be barred from working as a police officer for the rest of his life. The maximum sentence is 19 years in prison.
The investigation into Rivas' behavior was the result of information disclosed to the Humbolt County Sheriff's Office by private citizens.
If that is not enough for Trinidad citizen's to contemplate, there is the case of Phyliss Sharum who is charged with 8 felony counts involving misuse of public funds. Sharum, who resigned as treasurer in December of 1994 following an audit that detected accounting irregularities in the city's finances, owns and operates a bookkeeping service. Clients of the bookkeeping service, Goode Data Processing, have filed charges against the former treasurer, alleging that she has failed to make restitution payments for missing funds. Clients included the North Coast Land Trust.
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