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Supervisor Efren Carrillo told to stay away from Sonoma County Family Justice Center


Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo is no longer welcome at the county’s crisis center for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse.

Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, listens to Karen Fraser as she asks Carrillo to step down from his position on the board during public comment, Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, listens to Karen Fraser as she asks Carrillo to step down from his position on the board during public comment, Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

After attending a committee meeting at the Family Justice Center Wednesday, Carrillo received notice from District Attorney Jill Ravitch that he could not return to the county-owned facility.

“I contacted him afterward and told him he can’t come to the Family Justice Center,” Ravitch said. “We’re going to have to move committee meetings off-site.”

Carrillo, 32, who is awaiting possible criminal charges from his July arrest outside a Santa Rosa woman’s home, said Ravitch made him aware of a “concern that was raised” after they both went to the justice center to attend an executive committee meeting of Upstream Investments, a county initiative.

But the 5th District supervisor said it was his decision to forego future visits to the facility. He said he did not want to “interrupt the wonderful work” of the center.

“I didn’t need to be told,” Carrillo said Wednesday. “As soon as the DA made me aware of the concern, I decided on my own it was better to wait until after the pending issue.”

Carrillo is due back in court Oct. 11 to see if a special prosecutor for the state Attorney General will bring formal charges against him. He was arrested in the wee hours of July 13, clad only in socks and underwear, after a neighbor reported someone outside her house.

Police said they believed Carrillo intended to commit a sexual assault, citing a torn screen on the woman’s bedroom window. He was booked on suspicion of prowling and burglary.

Carrillo checked into an alcohol rehabilitation facility after posting bail, and remained there for five weeks. He apologized at his return to the Board of Supervisors last month and admitted problems with binge drinking.

It was his second arrest in a year. Carrillo was picked up by police after a fight outside a San Diego nightclub Sept. 3, 2012, but no charges were filed.

Since his latest arrest, critics have called for Carrillo to resign. Carrillo, who was re-elected to a second four-year term last year, said he has no plans to step down.

Like most elected officials, Carrillo sits on a number of community boards that meet regularly. He is on the executive committee of Upstream Investments, which seeks to eradicate poverty with early intervention programs.

The committee, which includes Ravitch, Carrillo and several county managers, meets eight times a year inside the Family Justice Center on Mendocino Avenue.

The Family Justice Center, run by the district attorney, is a clearinghouse for services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse. It also houses meeting rooms that are separate from victim services.

Wednesday’s meeting ran from from 9 to 10 a.m. Committee members, including Carrillo, were escorted into the building through security doors and gathered in a conference room to discuss a future report to the Board of Supervisors.

No one at the meeting sounded any alarm about Carrillo’s presence, said Megan Sirna, a Human Services Department analyst who also was at the meeting.

But Family Justice Center employees spotted him and complained his presence wasn’t appropriate at a facility that serves as a sanctuary for many women victims of sexual assault, according to a source who asked not to be identified.

After the meeting, Ravitch contacted Carrillo and explained that he couldn’t come back to the center, she said. Ravitch would not say what prompted the move or if it was linked to complaints.

The center does not have a specific policy prohibiting people from attending public meetings in the facility if they have criminal charges pending, Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook said. Policies mirror those of the National Family Justice Center Alliance, she said.

However, access is strictly regulated and members of the public are kept apart from victims, Cook said.

Supervisor Shirlee Zane said it is standard practice to establish boundaries between victims and suspects. In Carrillo’s case, she pointed out that a judge has ordered him to remain 100 feet from the alleged victim. Whether or not the woman had ever been to the center for services was confidential, she said.

Nonetheless, word of Carrillo’s visit spread to the woman, who was outraged, said her lawyer, Rosanne Darling.

Darling said she was hired to enforce the woman’s rights under Marsy’s Law, adopted by the state Legislature in 2008, giving her client rights in the judicial process including protection from any defendant.

Darling said victims need to feel confident they won’t walk into the Family Justice Center lobby and run into a suspected criminal.

“She was pretty devastated to hear that,” said Darling, a former Sonoma County prosecutor who left for private practice this summer. “There’s an element of common sense that seems to be missing here.”

12 Responses to “Supervisor Efren Carrillo told to stay away from Sonoma County Family Justice Center”

  1. observer says:

    There’s an operating manual for a local justice system.

    It was written 2400 years ago. It applies with surprising immediacy to the Supervisor’s current mess.

    Plato, in his Republic, described how a great city should work then contrasted that with the way things tend to work. In Plato’s ideal city, the highest value isn’t happiness. It’s justice. Meaning fairness.

    By contrast, justice in many cities—then, and now in Sonoma County—tends to be what the ruling oligarchs say it should be.

    Which means, if I control the press, the courts, the executive, and the legislature, then my friends get justice and my-unfriends get injustice, even retribution.

    The DA in a just county would be an instrument of impartial justice. Including this: enabling due process; letting the court system decide the Supervisor’s guilt or innocence.

    But justice in Sonoma County is for friends of the insiders. By publicly denouncing the Supervisor before his due process unfolds, the DA has joined the Grand Jury and its Presiding Judge as instruments of insider justice; and retribution and injustice for everybody else.

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  2. SantaRosaCitizen says:

    Lalita, can you give more info about the Florida arrest? Are you sure it is the same guy?

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  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Elephant- and he knows where all these facilities are!

    Efren has to go. He can get his old job back at the credit union. I’m sure his rich handlers can find a placement for him.

    In any event, he will lose the next election for sure. Might as well go now.

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  4. Lalita says:

    Has anyone checked into his arrest in Florida? No one seems to know about it,but I think it tells a story. This problem has been long simmering for Efren. There is a lot we don’t know. Someone needs to check this out and investigate

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  5. Elephant says:

    And the hits just keep on coming.

    So here is a county facility where Carrillo is not allowed to enter. And I am sure that there are other facilities around the county that deal with abused women who feel the same way. Kind of limits his ability to perform his job fully.

    Once again, I say that the longer this drags out, the worse it will be for Carrillo and his handlers.

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  6. Shocked Monkey says:

    This is laughable.

    Efren is humiliating the office of Supervisor, the constituents of his District, his Latino roots, AA principles and men in general.

    Please go away.

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  7. Steveguy says:

    You can trust him around women for the next little while, what about after that ?

    I would extend his ” ban” to any event with children.

    Who is defending this guy anymore ? Only some very vested interests, as he is bought and paid for.


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  8. SantaRosaCitizen says:

    The District Attorney knew he was going to be at that meeting. Why did it not occur to her that this was inappropriate before Family Justice Center staff pointed this out? Seems like this should have been considered up front, especially by someone who states she cares about victim rights.

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  9. Larry Watkins says:

    Ban Carrillo from all public buildings as a public nuisance including the BOA Chamber.

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  10. Grapevines says:

    Any reason why we can’t ask him to stay away from all the Sonoma County buildings while we’re at it??

    That includes trying to break in wearing only his underwear late at night also.

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  11. Emerson Burkett says:

    “There’s no need to fear; Captain Underpants is here.” Keeping the neighborhood safe at 3 AM.
    From the side of the stage: “Uh, Efren, Efren, uh, you need to leave; you are freaking the Ladies out and they have already been traumatized way to much.” Thank’s Efren, for staying away from The Family Justice Center.

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