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Man found hanged at Mayer home

Identity of apparent suicide victim not confirmed
10-4-2007 California:

A middle-aged man was found hanging Wednesday from a rope attached to an oak tree in the backyard of the upscale home of former Redding Bank of Commerce CEO Michael Mayer.

But Redding police would not confirm that the victim was the 51-year-old former bank executive charged with molesting a 16-year-old girl in August.

The man's identity won't be released until relatives are notified, said Redding police Capt. Peter Hansen.

No one else was home at the time of the apparent suicide, Hansen said.

Flanked by newspaper, radio and television reporters, Hansen said police went to Mayer's La Rinconada Place home about 4:30 p.m. after a neighbor reported seeing someone hanging from the tree inside the wrought-iron fence enclosing the backyard.

Speaking from Mayer's manicured front yard, Hansen said it appeared that the man's death was a suicide. He declined to say if a suicide note had been left and said that the case has been turned over to the Shasta County coroner's office.

Most of those who live on the street in Mayer's quiet and heavily treed neighborhood stayed indoors as police investigated the hanging, and those who did briefly venture outside politely declined to talk to reporters.

Mayer was arrested Aug. 19 after a 16-year-old family friend told police that Mayer had sexually assaulted her at the house where the body was found Wednesday.

Eight days later, Redding Bank of Commerce fired him from its top job, which last year paid him $455,000 in salary, benefits and other compensation.

When he was arrested, police reported that the 16-year-old girl had told them that Mayer massaged her shoulders and back in a darkened family room where Mayer's daughter and niece were lying on the floor watching television.

She also told police she was "not sure what to do" when the massage allegedly went too far and Mayer fondled her breasts and groin, the police report said.

Mayer's wife told police that her husband, who had been drinking heavily that day, "lost it" after being confronted by the alleged molestation, and that he had threatened to kill himself, the report said.

Charged with two counts of felony sexual penetration and misdemeanor counts of annoying a child, sexual battery and indecent exposure, Mayer was released from jail on $100,000 bail.

The court also ordered him not to drink or to have firearms, and to stay away from female minors unless a responsible adult was present.

Mayer's last Superior Court appearance was on Sept. 17 when Judge William Gallagher agreed to hear the case after two other judges recused themselves. ..more.. by Reporter Jim Schultz can be reached at 225-8223 or at

CA Bank CEO Facing Molest Charge Commits Suicide

10-4-2007 California:

REDDING (AP) ― The former chief executive of Redding's Bank of Commerce Holdings committed suicide while awaiting trial for allegedly molesting a teenage family friend, the Shasta County coroner's office said Thursday.

Police found the body of Michael Charles Mayer hanging from an oak tree inside the wrought-iron fence surrounding his neatly manicured Redding home on Wednesday afternoon. He was 51.

Shasta County Deputy Coroner Lisa Green said Mayer's death was ruled a suicide.

Mayer had served as the bank holding company's chief executive officer since 2001 and rang the Nasdaq Stock Market's closing bell in New York in 2005. His salary and compensation last year totaled $455,000.

Mayer was arrested on Aug. 19 after someone at his home called 911 at 3 a.m.

Mayer was charged with two felony counts of sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl as well misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure, annoying a child and sexual battery. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bail.

The bank fired Mayer eight days after he was charged.

According to The Redding Record Searchlight, the police report said the girl reported that Mayer had massaged her back and shoulders and then went too far as she and Mayer's daughter and niece watched television in a darkened room.

The Searchlight also quoted the police report saying Mayer's wife had told officers her husband had been drinking heavily the night of the alleged assault and that he threatened to kill himself when confronted with the allegations.
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