Las Vegas Court Officials Accused Of Covering Up Sex Assault [VIDEO]

Members of a family court in Las Vegas stand by as Monica Contreras breaks down.Solidarity among co-workers is usually a good thing. But when loyalty crosses a line into a cover-up, it can get everyone in a heap of trouble. Case in point: Employees at the Clark County family court in Las Vegas -- from the judge to court security officers -- are accused of looking the other way when security guard Ron Fox allegedly sexually assaulted a young, female defendant -- which eventually resulted in ruined reputations and careers.

It all began two years ago, when Monica Contreras (pictured above, on the right), then 26, claimed that Fox (pictured at front left) "touched her buttocks, breast and ordered her to lift up her shirt," according to Las Vegas station KLAS-TV. Then Fox allegedly retaliated by arresting her on a bogus charge -- making false allegations against a police officer -- news accounts say. Fox reportedly was fired as a result.

Contreras initially had been called into the family court in August 2011 after her estranged husband filed for a temporary restraining order against her during their divorce. But just a few minutes into her hearing, Contreras was asked to take a drug test in a waiting room without being given an explanation, said KLAS-TV. (The station recently uncovered the security video of her appearance.) And it was while Contreras was in the waiting room that, she says, Fox assaulted her -- as described by her to court magistrate Patricia Doninger in a squirm-inducing breakdown. Gossip website Gawker has said the footage will give you "nightmares."

Contreras tried to tell her story over tears after returning to the courtroom. The court workers, however, don't appear in the security video to be very moved. Doninger can be seen playing with Contreras' daughter, who was present for the hearing. In fact, Contreras soon found herself under arrest. The charge? "False allegations made against a police officer," according to Court Marshal James Kenyon (pictured back left), who assisted in the arrest. Yet no such crime exists, as a federal appeals court has affirmed.

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In speaking before the court, Contreras made clear that she thought she was the one falsely accused. "It was all lies. All lies. All lies. All lies. Please stop," she said as she was about to be put in handcuffs.

The incident was unpublicized for two years -- it only became public because KLAS obtained the video in March and broadcast it. (Clark is currently suing the county for wrongful termination in district court. His rationale? No one present chose to "intervene" in his actions, as his court papers appear to accurately say.)

The county's internal affairs division didn't learn of the incident until Contreras filed a report two months after her day in court. According to KLAS, the division was "shocked" that they hadn't heard of it directly from Family Court Lt. Steve Rushfield. The internal affairs division subsequently conducted a six-month investigation into the incident. Once it completed the report, Clark County fired Fox.

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After KLAS broadcast the video, Rushfield was demoted to marshal, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said. But the court magistrate, Doninger, appears to have been unscathed by it, much to the horror of some observers. The legal blog AboveTheLaw noted, "It's been two years and Doninger, this magistrate who literally turned her back on a woman who was molested in her own courtroom, still has a job?"

Now that the video has become public, Clark County has announced that it will continue the investigation, examining "a growing number of assault allegations" that were never reported by the family courts to the county's Internal Affairs division.

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687 Comments

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John Lutz

Damn.......

Hang 'em......., H I G H .......

June 21 2013 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aztrukin

I don't see a cover up. Where is the video of the accusation? Was the judge trying to distract the child by playing with her to try and avoid her being traumatized?

June 21 2013 at 6:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aztrukin's comment
Bobby

really you gotta be a zimm supporter.
The officer in question admitted what he did was fired and sued the state for not stopping him.
He won.

June 27 2013 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

A tazer and a can of bear mace in a dark alley will teach this guy a lesson...

June 21 2013 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
impexlink

This is not just in LV but I am sure it is happening in many other states. Try Texas

June 21 2013 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A. Edwards Sr.

It's time to start holding judges accountable for their court room. I imagine if a few of them were disbarred and put in jail for their misconduct, there would be a miraculous turn of events and change in professionalism.

June 21 2013 at 1:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mrman4954

is any one really surprised that people working in our legal system will cover up crimes committed by others working in the legal system ? i am not . these people work very closely together ,they become friends and like many friends they will do all that they can to help a friend ,even if that is to over look /cover up a crime committed by a fellow worker

June 21 2013 at 10:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jt7smile

That Judge should be dismissed right away and investgate ALL the Family Court Judges!!!!!!!
The girl did the smart thing by not being tricked into recanting. Everything is on VIDEO in the family court in Las Vegas and the Judges cover their ass, they even delete things from the videos. Guess they missed this one and forgot to delete it or smudge her voice.
Interesting how that Judge just ignored it all and is now trying to cover her ass.
Remember this when it is time to vote Vote This Judge out!, Vote Judge Bill Henderson OUT!!!
The only Judge to keep is Judge Gayle Nathan.

June 20 2013 at 7:08 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jt7smile

I live in Las Vegas and the family court is very corrupt. I hope every family court Judge except Judge Gayle Nathan is off the Bench by 2016. For sure vote NO on JUDGE HENDERSON. He lets Attorneys run up fees and he does not follow the law. Watch his cases closely through out this year. He must be getting kick backs from the attorneys to prolong cases. I and many others plan to be out in full force to protest him.

I know the system here and this woman in the article is not making this up!!!! Clark county family courts treat women badly......VOTE (NO) on JUDGE BILL HENDERSON in the family court. Everyone should opt out of his court if you have a case in his court because he will screw you over, man or woman and let the Attorneys run up fees.

June 20 2013 at 6:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
gingersage08

Abuse of power is rampant, especially in captive situations like prison, military, mental hospitals, religious institutions, schools, eldercare, childcare, politics,the judicial system, etc., for example. In my opinion abuse of power by people in positions of trust is at the heart of all the current big issues in the world. It needs to be exposed, stood up to, prosecuted and revised with new ways to report abuses and put checks & accountability on power.

June 19 2013 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
fox12ga

What happends in Las Vegas stays in LasVegas including sex assualt ?

June 19 2013 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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