ASWT Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Against County of Los Angeles and Public Defender

The Los Angeles Daily News published an article on this settlement, to read – click here.

Mike Arias and Jamie Goldstein of Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos announced a settlement of a civil lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles and a public defender who was accused of sexually assaulting his own client in a Los Angeles County Courthouse in September of 2015. The settlement was agreed upon in September 2020 and approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

A court-appointed public defender for the County of Los Angeles at the time of the alleged incident was a named Defendant, along with the County. The public defender was accused of sexually assaulting his then client (Dominga G.) and then threatening her to keep her silent.

According to the complaint that was originally filed in April of 2018, Dominga met with her court-appointed attorney in September 2015 at the Antelope Valley courthouse for a shoplifting-related charge. He was assigned to represent her and after their initial meeting, and Dominga alleged that he instructed her to have another meeting with him at one of the courthouse breakout rooms. Dominga claimed that she followed him to the room and after he closed the door, she alleged that he told her she was in trouble and used his color of authority to force and coerce Dominga to submit to his sexual advances.

Dominga complied due to her fear of facing criminal charges if she resisted. She claimed she tried to scream but the public defender told her to remain silent and then coerced her into several sexual acts including oral copulation. Every alleged sexual act was committed against her will and without her consent.

“Incidents such as this one erodes the public’s faith in sacred and trusted institutions,” said attorney Mike Arias. “No woman should ever have to enter a courthouse fearing she may fall victim to some sort of sexual misconduct.”

The allegations additionally claimed that the public defender then threatened Dominga, telling her not to tell anyone and that he had her home address. After she left, she claimed he contacted her by telephone.