The following story made headlines between 2011 and 2013 but between all of the controversy lately over police misconduct in Ferguson and Berkeley, Missouri; New York and now Los Angeles, California, I felt it was best to find other related incidents involving other races. In August 2011, in Clark County, a suburb of Las Vegas, at a family court hearing, Monica Contreras was set to testify before the court after her ex husband filed a temporary restraining order against her; but what would have been a simple testimony with the judge, led to her imprisonment for accusing the court Marshal of sexually assaulting her. Reportedly, Contreras was ordered to go to a private room to be searched by court Marshall, Ron Fox. In fact, her ex did not even show up to the court and his case was dismissed but Monica was still arrested.
Monica asked Marshal Fox to have a female officer conduct the search and she was denied. Monica asked the Marshal to have a female officer as a witness and again she was denied. According to Monica’s accounts, the Marshal sexually assaulted her during the pat down by fondling her buttux and breasts and then proceeded to order her to lift up her shirt. She asked, “Why?” and the Marshal demanded her to lift up her shirt which she did under duress. When they exited the room and Monica returned to the courtroom, she advised the judge what had occurred but the judge refused to listen to her allegations. Next, another court Marshal, Kenyon who was also in the courtroom, ordered Marshal Fox to arrest Monica for making false allegations against a law enforcement officer. Marshal Fox stated that the only way to avoid being arrested was if she were to recount her claims against him. Monica agreed but instead cried out to the judge over the sexual assault. Monica’s 2-year old daughter went behind the bench and told the judge what occurred and for the court not to arrest her mother. The judge turned her back to Monica’s cries and instead entertained the child behind the bench. Ironically, Marshal Kenyon the Marshal accused of sexually assaulting Monica was also the Marshal who went to handcuff and arrest.
While she was being handcuffed, Monica cried out to the two marshals and the judge,
“For what, sir? Why would I be arrested? Can you please tell me?”
Monica attempted to explain to Judge Patricia Donninger that she was refused a female officer during the search but her cries were met with the judge ignoring her complaint. According to the courtroom video, Monica is heard crying out to the judge who ignored her; Monica asking why she is being arrested and them Marshal Fox’s reply:
“Because of false allegations made against a police officer.”
— Marshal Fox
“Let me go. It was all lies. I don’t want to deal with anything. It was all lies. All lies. All lies. All lies. Please stop. You put me in a room. You asked me to lift up my shirt without a witness,”
— Monica Contreras said into the microphone.
“OK, take her to jail.”
— Marshal Fox
Monica Contreras begged the judge to listen to her several times but the judge is seen on the courtroom video ignoring Contreras. A local news station, I-Team with Channel 8, discovered the video and then investigated the allegations. Apparently, not only did Contreras go to jail but her daughter was taken away from her for about 2-years as well. The investigation proved that this was a case of false imprisonment because no law exists in Nevada or at the time of the incident where an alleged victim can be arrested for claiming they were sexually assaulted by a police officer. An internal investigation led to proof of Monica Contreras’ claims of sexual assault along with other cases of similar allegations. The investigation also led to evidence that employees of the Clark County Family Court had covered up the sexual assault by Marshal Kenyon. Marshal Kenyon was later terminated over the incident.
Apparently, other allegations by other alleged victims included sexual assaults and choking individuals in the courtroom. The investigation also determined that the reason for the initial search of Contreras was for a drug search ordered by Marshal Fox. Of all people to make the arrest of Contreras would be her alleged perpetrator and one would think that by her claims alone, they would have called for a female officer. The child was sent to Child Haven. Following a 6-months internal investigation, Marshal Fox was also terminated, as well as the Judge. To make things even more suspect, not one person from the investigation contacted Monica Contreras to inform her that not only were her claims of sexual assault valid but that both Marshals and the judge were terminated over the incident. It was not until, nearly a year after the incident that the I-Team News Station contacted Monica and advised her of the findings. She later pleaded Nolo contendere to the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct (later revised charged from making false allegations against a police officer). The charge was dismissed.
Fox has continued to deny the allegations made against him and is now suing the Clark County Sheriff’s Department for wrongful termination.
July 2014: Civil Suit
Monica Contreras was awarded $200,000 by the Board of Examiners over this incident. However, according to a statement made by Gov. Brian Sandoval, Contreras’ attorney fees have totaled more than $170,000 leaving the victim with about $25-30,000. Had she taken the case to federal court, her attorneys wanted about $425,000 for fees.