In August 2011, Monica Contreras arrived in court with her two year-old daughter to follow through with a divorce case. Contreras’ ex-husband filed for a restraining order against her, but when he did not show, the judge dismissed the charges. While Contreras was getting ready to leave, Court Marshal Ron Fox ordered her to go through an unexplained drug search. Fox then demanded Contreras to wait in a room and lift up her shirt, as he searched for drug paraphernalia. When Contreras asked for a female marshal to conduct the search, her request was ignored. Contreras claimed that Marshal Fox sexually assaulted her, in an empty room, with a judge and her daughter next door.
After trying to plea for help from the judge and other officers, the judge not only ignored her, but allowed the same marshal who had assaulted her to arrest her as well. She instinctively tried to explain to the judge about being ignored when asking for a female marshal to conduct the search and how she was assaulted, while the judge refrained from looking at Contreras, distracting herself by playing with the two-year-old daughter.
Marshal Ron Fox arrested Monica Contreras for false accusations against a police officer (there is no law supporting such an arrest in any case), but before arresting Contreras, Fox was kind enough to give her the chance to repeal her allegations — well, gave her an ultimatum: Tell the judge it was a lie, or go to jail. Finally after a six month investigation, the accusations were found to be true, and Fox was fired immediately on finding the information.
During a 3rd Quarter Report of the National Police Misconduct Statistic, male police officers have been accused of sexual assault 1.5 times more often than the general male population.
There needs to be more control and oversight during these investigations. Was there any reason to believe that Monica Contreras had drugs in her possession? Also, female officers should always be available on hand for any searches, and using procedures such as having a second witness in the room to be able to confirm or deny any possible allegations. If more precautions were taken, many of these events could have been stopped or avoided.
Here’s a video of Contreras pleading with the judge while she is arrested:
EDITORIAL NOTE (July 30th, 2013): Hearing Master Patricia Doninger was terminated from her position as well. The reporter was unaware of this at the time of the writing.