LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is again under fire after a former LASD official testified that she resigned in protest over the reinstatement of a deputy accused of domestic violence, stalking and harassment of a woman he previously dated.
Alicia Ault, the former head of the department’s professional standards and training division, said in her court deposition that she left after 34 years with the department after Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s incoming chief of staff ordered her to reinstate Deputy Caren Mandoyan and to alter Mandoyan’s disciplinary history — before Villanueva took his oath of office.
Ault said the newly elected sheriff’s top aide, Lawrence Del Mese, phoned her one week before Villanueva’s swearing-in and made the demand. She said the aide also told her to change the records of a separate use-of-force case against the deputy. She resigned four days later.
Villanueva’s lawyer in the county case, Steve Madison, told the Times he hadn’t reviewed the filings but plans to present new evidence that will support his client’s case. Villanueva told the Times that it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the pending litigation.
Villanueva’s former undersheriff Ray Leyva, who was fired in March, also said under oath that he believed the sheriff’s reconciliation committee deliberately skewed evidence to favor Deputy Mandoyan who worked on Villanueva’s election campaign. According to the Times, Leyva also said he felt he was fired because he tried to make Villanueva conform to department rules and protocols.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 16.
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