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Professor with expertise in “deviant behavior” charged with arson in massive California Dixie Fire

Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, is believed to have worked at a number of colleges in California, including Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University, where a Dr. Gary Maynard is listed as a lecturer in criminal justice studies specializing in criminal justice, cults and deviant behavior.


by Sam Stanton for Sacramento Bee

College professor held in wildland arson spree near California’s massive Dixie Fire

A college professor suspected in a series of arson fires in remote forested areas of Northern California near the massive Dixie Fire has been charged in connection with one of the blazes in Lassen County and was ordered held Tuesday in the Sacramento County Main Jail.

Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, is believed to have worked at a number of colleges in California, including Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University, where a Dr. Gary Maynard is listed as a lecturer in criminal justice studies specializing in criminal justice, cults and deviant behavior.

Sonoma State spokeswoman Julia Gonzalez said Maynard is no longer with the university.

“He was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,” she wrote in an email. “He was employed with Sonoma State University in Fall 2020, but did not have an appointment for Spring 2021.

“Mr. Maynard was contracted to fill in for a faculty member who was on leave. He taught two seminars in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies in Fall 2020.”

Santa Clara confirmed that Maynard had worked there, as well.

“Gary Maynard was an adjunct faculty member in the sociology department at Santa Clara University from September 2019 to December 2020,” the university wrote in an emailed statement.

Maynard was arrested Saturday following an investigation that began July 20 and included a U.S. Forest Service agent placing a tracking device under his car after he had been stopped briefly by Susanville police on Aug. 3.

Maynard, whose middle name is alternately spelled “Stephan” in jail records, made a brief appearance Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, where Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Anderson asked that he not be released from custody.

“There are simply no conditions that could be fashioned that could ensure the safety of the public with respect to this defendant,” Anderson told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman.

“Over the course of the last several weeks, Maynard has set a series of fires in the vicinity of the Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest…,” Anderson wrote in a detention memo. “The area in which Maynard chose to set his fires is near the ongoing Dixie fire, a fire which is still not contained despite the deployment and efforts of over 5,000 personnel.

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2 thoughts on “Professor with expertise in “deviant behavior” charged with arson in massive California Dixie Fire

  1. Logging and low level winter burns enables saleable lumber.. And spaces those trees too. And don’t forget to Graze these forest floors.

    Keep things cleaned up and the fires don’t have as much junk to burn.

    Saving forest is joke… USE the trees. USE the land. that tends to keep things wetter.

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