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The Region

Deputy Put on Leave in Child Abuse Case

April 19, 2002|STUART PFEIFER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was placed on administrative leave Thursday, one day after prosecutors charged him and his wife, a former school principal, with a felony for allegedly abusing their teenage son.

Sgt. Grady Machnick and his wife, Deborah, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Orange County Superior Court to conspiracy to commit child endangerment. They are accused of physically and emotionally abusing the boy at their home in Yorba Linda.

The sergeant, a 22-year department veteran, allegedly punched his son and forced him to sleep outside on several occasions. The boy's stepmother, former principal of a Walnut school, is accused in court papers of taking nude photos of the boy while laughing at him.

Grady Machnick will continue to receive his $87,000 annual salary while on leave, said Sheriff's Deputy Richard Westin, a department spokesman.

The father's attorney, John Barnett, said the parents broke no laws while disciplining their son.

Officials of the Walnut Valley Unified School District transferred Deborah Machnick from her post at Cyrus J. Morris Elementary School after the allegations surfaced last year. Serving in an administrative post in which she has no contact with children, she is currently helping the district develop teaching strategies, said Michael Armijo, a district spokesman.

The boy, 15, is living with an Orange County foster family.

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