SAN DIEGO — A San Diego County sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to groping or assaulting 12 women while on duty, including some who’d been arrested.

Richard Fischer entered pleas Thursday to assault and battery by an officer, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Prosecutors contend that Fischer, a six-year veteran, improperly fondled the women between May 2015 and October 2017. They ranged in age from the 20s to the late 60s.

Authorities say some women were crime victims who’d called the Sheriff’s Department and others had been arrested and were handcuffed at the time.

One woman filed a $6 million claim against the department last year, alleging that Fischer groped and hugged her.

More than a dozen claims or lawsuits have been filed involving Fischer, who’s on unpaid leave.

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