SF State officials, husband, wife face criminal charges

Two SF State officials have been arrested in the month of April. One, a former director, the other a records supervisor at the University Police department. Their alleged crimes and roles at the University are different, but their last names are the same. Meet Julie and Robert Shearer, SF State’s married couple of defendants.


A timeline of the Shearers


University officials Julie and Robert Shearer are married and have been under investigation for alleged crimes against SF State.

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Timeline by Lindsay Oda


Robert “Bud” Shearer, a former SF State director of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety, is accused of being involved in a seven-year bribery scheme that cheated the University out of millions of dollars while students faced increasingly frequent tuition hikes, District Attorney George Gascón said. He plead “not guilty” to 128 felony counts for allegedly taking bribesin return for approving hazardous waste removal contracts that were overpriced, last Friday, April 26.

Robert Shearer, former SF State director of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety is faced with 128 felony counts for allegedly taking bribes costing the University millions of dollars.

“As SFSU students were seeing tuition increases each year, this high-level university official and vendor were getting rich off the University’s dime,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “We’re talking about millions of dollars here. We will seek restitution.”

According to Shearer’s newly appointed attorney assigned by the Public Defender’s Office, Deputy Public Defender Stephanie LaCambra, Shearer has “no financial assets to speak of.”

Robert and Julie entered into bankruptcy Nov. 4, 1996 and their Fremont house was foreclosed on in 2010.

Stephen Cheung, Robert Shearer’s alleged accomplice, was the owner and operator of Chemical HazMat Technology, a company that the District Attorney says Robert Shearer routinely allowed to overcharge SF State for hazardous waste removal and other services in return for personal loans, monetary payments totaling up to $183,000, trips to China, and a gifted Volvo.

After Robert Shearer left his job as director and Cheung’s company was replaced, SF State’s yearly spending on hazardous waste removal services went from $730,000 to only $176,000. According to the District Attorney’s office, Cheung allegedly started bribing Shearer in 2002 and continued to do so until 2009.

Shearer, a former helicopter machine gunner during the Vietnam War, was arrested April 18 at his home in Fremont, without incident. But Cheung wasn’t arrested until April 22 after a high-speed car chase that began at 46th Avenue and Taraval Street. Cheung crashed his Mercedes into unoccupied parked cars at 44th Avenue and Ulloa Street. He then fled on foot before he was arrested by the San Francisco Police Department.

Both defendants are currently in custody with bail set at $5 million each, and could face more than 100 years in state prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s press release.

Shearer is being charged with 128 felony counts — 59 counts of commercial bribery, 59 counts of accepting a bribe, five felony counts of making a contract in an official capacity by a financially interested person, and five felony counts of perjury.

Ellen Griffin, University spokesperson, said that because the investigation is ongoing, all she would say is that SF State “appreciates the DA’s work” and that “the current director of EHOS was chosen via a search committee with references thoroughly checked. Current campus procedure is that the unit’s operations and contracts undergo audit to ensure procedures and policies are followed, including audits from the CSU Chancellor’s Office.”

MEET JULIE SHEARER

But Bud isn’t the only member of the Shearer household accused of taking more than their fair share off of campus. His wife, Julie Shearer, records supervisor at the University Police Department, was arrested on campus April 8 for burglarizing the UPD building and possessing property stolen from one of her coworkers by University Police, according to an internal memo obtained by Golden Gate Xpress.

After a sting operation including the use of covert surveillance equipment, she was arrested by UPD, according to the memo. She was arrested April 8 in possession of U.S. currency belonging to a co-worker, according to four charges from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

The memo, written and signed by Patrick M. Wasley, chief of SF State police, states: “Ms. Shearer was the subject of a theft allegation in the department. I initiated an Internal Affairs investigation and authorized a sting operation and the use of covert surveillance equipment.”

Julie Shearer was charged with burglarizing 100 North State Dr., the University Police station, where she worked as a records supervisor and police dispatcher, according to the District Attorney’s charges.

Police dispatchers are the ones responsible for inputting information into the campus crime log on their downtime, according to a source who spoke with Xpress on the condition of anonymity. Julie Shearer’s arrest was not posted on the crime log until April 29, after its lack of an entry was brought to the attention of Chief of SF State police by an Xpress reporter.

Wasley called the missing entry an “unfortunate oversight.”

The UPD crime log website states, “The SF State Crime, Arrest, and Fire Log covers the past 60 days. Incidents are posted to the Log within 48 hours of occurrence. If a case disposition changes, it will be reflected in the log within 48 hours. If an arrest (is) made, the arrest information will be posted directly below the corresponding incident.”

The newly added entry states that the total loss of the theft was $60.

The surveillance equipment confirmed allegations of Julie Shearer’s involvement in a theft and she subsequently admitted to two thefts while being interviewed, according to the memo.

The District Attorney’s office confirmed that she is charged with “unlawfully entering a commercial building occupied by SF State with intent to commit larceny and felony.”

In the memo, Wasley wrote, “These actions are unacceptable in any situation and even more strikingly so in the University Police Department. For that reason, I request that appropriate disciplinary action be taken.”

Julie Shearer has been put on administrative leave, according to Griffin.

“It’s distressing when a law enforcement professional is arrested, but taking immediate action was essential. We have made the arrest and now trust in the legal system,” Wasley said.

Julie Shearer was arraigned April 15 and has a pretrial conference scheduled for May 30. Golden Gate Xpress reached out to Julie Shearer, but she was unavailable for immediate comment.

Julie first met Robert when she was with the Twin Cities Police Department, according to an SF State news memo from 2007.

According to a report by the Marin Independent Journal, Robert was forced out of his 1985 position as Corte Madera fire chief amid allegations of misconduct.

The Golden Gate Xpress will continue to update you on our ongoing investigation in this matter. If you have any tips about Robert or Julie Shearer, contact Matt Saincome at saincome@mail.sfsu.edu or tweet him @MattSaincome.