The district attorney's office will not be filing charges against Hesperia Unified School District Superintendent Mark McKinney.


McKinney was notified of the decision in a letter from Deputy District Attorney R. Lewis Cope on Aug. 24.


"In response to a complaint to the Public Integrity Unit of the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office, our office undertook an investigation of allegations that you interfered with the Hesperia Unified School District Police's investigation into an allegation of embezzlement by a HUSD employee," Cope's letter reads in part.


"I first officially knew (of the investigation) when I got the letter," McKinney said Thursday. "Although the allegation was stated, way back at Sultana High School, that they were going to make a formal claim, but this was the first verification that they actually did make a formal complaint."


The dispute between the district and its police officers first went public in March, when Police Chief Mike Graham and Officer (and city councilman) Bill Holland accused McKinney of preventing them from investigating Sultana High School student government accounting regularities as a criminal investigation back in 2009.


A May 31 private investigator's report commissioned by the district supported their assertion that McKinney had told Graham and other officers to stop pursuing a criminal investigation.


"Penal Code 830.32 specifies that officers employed as members of a school district police department are peace officers with authority to investigate all crimes within their jurisdiction. To interfere with the execution of those duties could be a crime," Cope's letter continues. "Our investigation into this matter included a review of detailed information submitted with the complaint and a legal analysis of the evidence. It is our office's conclusion that criminal charges are not supported by the existing evidence. Hence, we are closing our files on this matter."


"This is the verification of a truth that I already knew," McKinney said. "If there was any doubt, this should remove it."


On Aug. 2, Graham was placed on paid administrative leave, days before the start of the 2011-12 school year.


"I'm working daily with the police department and Sgt. (Cindy) McCarter is next in command. We talk daily," McKinney said. He said the months-long struggle between the department and superintendent "has been unfortunate and has taken us off our goal, and I'm trying to get us refocused."


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.