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Kern County supervisor stabbed by own child, under investigation for alleged sexual assault

Kern County District 2 Supervisor Zack Scrivner.
Kern County
Kern County District 2 Supervisor Zack Scrivner.

Updated April 25, 2024, at 9:30 PM

BAKERSFIELD, CA – A Kern County supervisor was allegedly stabbed by his child and is now under investigation over allegations of sexual assault involving a separate child, Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters Thursday.

Youngblood said deputies seized 30 firearms, boxes of documents and electronic devices that may have captured the alleged assault at the home of Supervisor Zack Scrivner in Tehachapi, a city less than an hour east of Bakersfield. No charges have been filed.

Deputies were called to Scrivner’s home late Tuesday with reports he was allegedly “armed and suicidal.”

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, who is Scrivner’s aunt, contacted the sheriff himself in distress, Youngblood said. She believed Scrivner was suffering a “psychotic episode.” When authorities arrived, they found Scrivner had been stabbed twice “in the upper torso.”

An early investigation revealed the stabbing occurred over allegations that Scrivner sexually assaulted one of his four children, the sheriff said. When pressed on those allegations by a reporter, the sheriff responded: “I wouldn’t be standing up here if we didn’t believe something occurred.”

Youngblood said it appeared one of Scrivner’s children was defending a sibling when the alleged stabbing occurred. The names and ages of the children, who are minors, were not released to protect their identities, Youngblood said.

Evidence collected by the sheriff’s office will be processed outside of Kern County due to Scrivner’s relation to Zimmer, the district attorney. The California Attorney General’s Office was contacted to review the criminal case.

Scrivner was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Kern Medical Hospital. Youngblood declined to say whether the supervisor had been detained for mental health reasons.

Deputies seized a small quantity of psychoactive mushrooms but no other illegal substances were found at the Kern County leader’s home, the sheriff added.

An attorney for Scrivner told local media after Youngblood's press conference the information the sheriff released was "not reliable."

"It's remarkable that the sheriff would come out at this point without conducting a full investigation and make allegations like that," Attorney H.A. Sala said.

Sala did not disclose where Scrivner was Thursday, and did not say whether Scrivner would resign or remain as county supervisor.

He disputed the allegation of sexual assault of a minor as "absolutely not reliable," and said he had reason to believe no evidence to prove the allegation was taken from the home. He also said an altercation at Scrivner's home involved a "disarming" of Scrivner, adding that a gun was taken away from him so he would not use it against himself.

Scrivner’s wife filed for divorce last month, according to court records. Scrivner was first elected to the Kern County Board of Supervisors in 2010.

Chairman David Couch said it was “inappropriate” to comment on the case involving his colleague pending the criminal investigation, according to a statement.

KVPR's Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado contributed to this story.

Joshua Yeager is a Report For America corps reporter covering Kern County for KVPR.
Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.