State narcotics agent fired for sexual tryst with subordinate, say newly released disciplinary records
A former state drug agent overseeing Southern California operations was fired after having sex with a female subordinate and blackmailing her into covering it up, according to recently unsealed personnel records.
William Telish, former director of a Los Angeles-based regional task force, had an affair with a secretary and then threatened to send nude photos of the woman to her son after she tried to tell a supervisor, said termination records obtained from the state Department of Justice under a new police transparency law.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the records after his department was sued by the First Amendment Coalition and Bay Area news radio station KQED.
In 2010, Telish was fired for dishonesty and discourteous treatment from his latest job as special-agent-in-charge of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement office in Riverside, the largest regional office in California. When he worked in Los Angeles, Telish supervised more than 95 local, state and federal workers in the operation against drug traffickers.
Agent calls firing a ‘sham’
Telish appealed his termination, calling the personnel investigation a “sham” and alleging that phone recordings surreptitiously made during the probe violated his civil rights.
The firing, however, was upheld by appellate court justices. The name of the woman, Linda Drylie, was redacted from state records, but appeared in lawsuits she filed against Telish and the Department of Justice. Her suits were privately settled, records show.
Telish and Drylie did not respond to phone messages seeking comment Tuesday.
The state termination notice says Telish and Drylie began the affair in 2006 while at a work-related conference for the Los Angeles lnteragency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force. Telish marked the relationship by taking nude photos of Drylie and making a sex tape with her.
At the time of the affair, Telish was being sued by another employee for sexual harassment.
In her lawsuit, Drylie alleged Telish began dating her “to satisfy his sexual, sadistic, torturous and narcissistic needs.”
Denied the affair
State records say he and Drylie kissed after hours in the office and had sex in a state-owned vehicle. Telish denied the affair when asked about it by another official.
“In other words, you lied. Thus, you intentionally tried to conceal from management that there was anything inappropriate going on between the two of you,” stated his termination notice.
To further the lie, records say, Telish forced Drylie to deny the affair to the deputy director of the task force. Telish threatened to post the photos and video of Drylie on social media if she didn’t recant her earlier acknowledgement of the affair, the documents say. He also threatened suicide, her lawsuit says.
Telish ended the affair when Drylie left the task force, but he demanded that she email him photos of her genitals, so he could determine if she was having sex with others, the state investigation found.
Victim hired at Placentia PD
Drylie obtained a job with the Placentia Police Department and Telish was sent in 2009 to head the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement office in Riverside. The couple resumed the affair, but Drylie accused Telish of assault after he held her down with one hand and used the other hand to look through her cellphone messages to determine if she was dating other men.
Drylie reported the alleged assault to Placentia’s police chief, James Anderson, after Telish called her at work, reminding her that he still had the video and photos, records said. The chief complained to the state Department of Justice, which initiated an investigation. As part of the probe, Drylie started recording her phone conversations with Telish.
In the recordings, Telish used racial epithets to describe a co-worker and wondered aloud about the physical attributes of two male and female task force candidates, records say.
He also allegedly told Drylie to call him “Daddy” and said falsely that he had a 70-year-old informant in the Department of Justice headquarters who gave him information in exchange for sexual favors.
‘Extreme and irreparable discredit’
The termination notice said, “Despite the fact that you and Ms. (Drylie) had an ongoing personal relationship, such comments made to an employee of an allied agency … are unacceptable and cause extreme and irreparable discredit to the department.”
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into Telish for allegedly controlling a witness, but declined to file charges because there was not enough evidence.
The Southern California News Group and news organizations across California have been working together since January to collect once-secret law enforcement records under SB 1421 in cases of dishonesty, sexual misconduct, officer-involved shootings and other uses of force.