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Fullerton Officer Sexual Harassment Suit Settled

We’re sure that there are Fullerton officers and Fullerton residents who are hard-working, decent people who are sick and tired of hearing about their city in the news, especially when it’s bad news.

Hmmm. We can see two bright spots in today’s story: One, that the officer is no longer employed by the City of Fullerton in any capacity, and two, that the case is settled.

It was announced by a Fullerton city attorney on Tuesday night that the city will pay a total of $350,000 to two women who say that they were sexually assaulted by Albert Rincon, a former Fullerton police officer. The civil suit was originally filed in Superior Court in December 2009 and then in Santa Ana’s federal court, and it accused Rincon of sexually abusing two female suspects after he arrested them in separate incidents in 2008.

The first incident happened on August 1, 2008, when Rincon arrested a woman on possession of a controlled substance at the Fullerton bar where she worked; the charge was ultimately dismissed. Not only did Rincon sexually assault the woman under the guise of a pat-down, but he also harassed her at work, repeatedly.

The second incident happened on November 14, 2008, where he sexually assaulted a woman that he had handcuffed and placed in the back of his car on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. This charge was also ultimately dismissed.

Court documents also show that Rincon violated the Police Department’s policy of pat-downs, which should be performed by officers of the same sex as the offender whenever possible, and also by turning off his audio recorder when he came in contact with the women. Coincidence? We think not.

Rincon had been on administrative leave since July 9, 2011, and Captain Kevin Hamilton, the acting chief, sent him notice of his termination earlier this month. His last day of employment was October 14th.

According to D.A. spokeswoman Farrah Emami, several other women had approached the Police Department with similar complaints against the officer, which was uncovered during a criminal investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office into the officer’s conduct. That office declined to file criminal charges, however, citing the inability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Emami said.

Have you been sexually assaulted, by an officer or a citizen? Have your civil rights been violated by an officer, or have you suffered physical abuse by an officer of the law? Please call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim immediately on 714-713-4525, or use our online form for a Free Case Analysis. We believe in equal access to justice for all.

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