Los Angeles, CA – July 11, 2018 – Mike Arias has filed a civil lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles and a former public defender who stands accused of sexually assaulting his own client in a Los Angeles County Courthouse in September of 2015.
Emmanuel Bart-Plange, a former public defender for the County of Los Angeles is a named Defendant, along with the County, and is accused of sexually assaulting his client and then threatening her in order to keep her silent. Bart-Plange is accused of assaulting other clients while he was a public defender and the County is accused of failing to take steps to properly investigate the matter and instead just relocated him to a different courthouse.
In September of 2015, Dominga had a meeting with Bart-Plange, at the Antelope Valley courthouse, related to shoplifting charges. Bart-Plange was assigned to represent her and after their initial meeting he instructed Dominga to meet with him again in another meeting room at the courthouse. As instructed, she followed him to another meeting room. Once the door was closed, Bart-Plange advised her that she was in serious trouble. She believed that if she did not do as he said, she would be found guilty and sentenced to jail. Bart-Plange used his color of authority to force and otherwise coerce Dominga to submit to his sexual advances as she feared she would not receive adequate representation otherwise and would also be subject to serious criminal punishment. She tried to scream but Bart-Plange put his hand over her mouth and told her to remain silent. Bart-Plange then manipulated, coerced and otherwise forced Plaintiff to submit to acts of sex, including oral copulation. All sexual acts were committed against her will and without her consent.
Defendant Bart-Plange then threatened Plaintiff, telling her not to tell anyone and that he had her home address. After she left, he continued to harass Dominga over the phone and she was required to meet with him as he was her assigned attorney.
On September 20, 2016, Dominga was finally encouraged by her friends to courageously come forward and tell the police what had happened to her. However, during this process the detectives and county attorneys interfered with Dominga’s access to justice, telling her not to hire an attorney of her own. Thinking this was the law, she listened to the detective and county attorney.
During the investigation, the detectives also let Dominga know that there were other women who had been the victims of sexual misconduct by Bart-Plange. Bart-Plange was later fired by the county and it is believed the reason for his firing were the sexual assault and harassment claims.
The County and Bart-Plange have filed demurrers in an attempt to have the claims dismissed, arguing that the claims were not timely filed. Mr. Arias argues that due to the County’s attempted coverup, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply as suggested by the defense. The case is Dominga A. v. County of Los Angeles, Emmanuel Bart-Plange, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC682446.