PLEASANTON -- The Alameda County Sheriff's Department will conduct an audit of its computer files after a former deputy accused of illegally obtaining records of a Pleasanton man engaged in a bitter child custody dispute pleaded no contest to a related charge and was fired.
Ryan Silcocks, 41, entered the plea to a misdemeanor count of furnishing a criminal record to an unauthorized person and was found guilty by Superior Court Judge Jacob Blea on Aug. 20.
Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said Friday that in the wake of the criminal proceeding, the department will audit records and hold staff trainings to reiterate its policies and procedures.
"They must follow policies of the department and the law," Ahern said. "Violations of law could result in action, including termination."
Ahern said when the department learned of Silcocks' possible criminal activity, it conducted an internal investigation. In a report completed in June 2012, the department concluded that Silcocks "appears to have violated several California statutes" and recommended the D.A.'s office review the findings for charges, which were filed that month.
Silcocks was placed on administrative leave for "months" and was fired weeks before his plea in court, Ahern said.
"He was an employee who made a mistake -- a valued employee in our agency," Ahern said. "But when we discovered the mistake, we had the obligation to complete our investigation."
As a result of a deal with prosecutors, Silcocks received three years probation, a fine of $395, and credit for time served. Two other misdemeanor charges -- unauthorized computer access and unauthorized furnishing of DMV records -- were dropped.
"We believe that the negotiated disposition is appropriate in this matter," said Teresa Drenick, spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
Silcocks could not be reached for comment.
Brian Lancaster, a former Pleasanton resident who has identified himself as the victim, accused Silcocks of illegally accessing criminal, DMV and restraining order records for use against him in a custody battle with his ex-wife, Lisa Secord.
In a lawsuit -- that named Alameda County, the city of Pleasanton and the parties involved -- Lancaster claimed Secord, Silcocks and San Ramon attorney Lesley Regina conspired to set up a false arrest of him by Pleasanton police officer Tim Martens. Martens arrested Lancaster during a traffic stop in January 2012; Lancaster was jailed briefly on drug and weapons charges, but the District Attorney's Office later dropped the charges.
Lancaster said he felt somewhat vindicated by Silcocks' plea, but would await the outcome of Regina's criminal case.
"I feel like (Silcocks) should never be a policeman again," Lancaster said. "It's broken up my family. ... He knew better."
Regina has been charged with one misdemeanor count of receiving a confidential record. Her case, which has been delayed numerous times, has been continued until October. Regina's lawyer John Noonan and Silcocks' attorney Erin Dervin did not return multiple calls for comment.
On July 1, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup granted a motion by Lancaster's attorney, Jeff Hubins, to dismiss Martens from a 2012 federal lawsuit filed by Lancaster that included the city, the county and Regina and Silcocks as defendants. In the suit, Lancaster accused Martens of making an unwarranted traffic stop and planting drugs in his car.
Pleasanton City Attorney Jonathan Lowell, whose office defended Martens, said the dismissal made it "quite clear that the allegations against Officer Martens were without merit."
"We're pleased with the result," he said.
Lancaster and Regina have reached an undisclosed settlement in the federal case, but the lawsuit remains in court, with the county, Silcocks and Secord remaining as defendants. A hearing on that case will be Sept. 12 in Oakland.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.