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San Francisco deputy sheriff charged with domestic violence, stalking ex-girlfriend

A sunlit stone wall with "HALL OF JUSTICE" engraved, adorned with stars, shadow of a tree's leaves visible.
Outside the Hall of Justice at Superior Court in San Francisco Monday, October 2, 2023. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

A San Francisco deputy sheriff was charged Monday with multiple felonies, including domestic violence, false imprisonment and stalking, in connection with incidents involving a former girlfriend, prosecutors said.

Jonathan Espiritu, 49, pleaded not guilty to 10 criminal charges, including two counts of domestic violence, two counts of false imprisonment and one count each of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, stalking, domestic battery, dissuading a witness, unlawful use of an electronic tracking device and obstructing use of a wireless device to summon assistance.

According to court records, Espiritu and the woman had an "on and off" dating relationship that the woman tried to end after she said he became increasingly possessive.

Prosecutors said that on Aug. 14, 2023, Espiritu tried to strangle the woman at her home when she tried to break up with him. On Dec. 8, he allegedly attacked her at her workplace. And on March 7, 2024, prosecutors claim Espiritu slapped her in a car and threatened to kill himself if she reported him.

The woman reported the alleged abuse on April 3 after finding a tracking device on her vehicle. Police arrested Espiritu nearby.

"I would like to thank the survivor in this case for coming forward and reporting these crimes," said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins in a statement.

Espiritu is due in court April 19 for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors successfully moved to detain him without bail, citing public safety risks.

The Sheriff's Department and the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association declined to comment on the case.