I-Team: Fired Family Court Marshal Wins Right to Sue County - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Fired Family Court Marshal Wins Right to Sue County

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Monica Contreras pleads for help in Family Court. Monica Contreras pleads for help in Family Court.
Ron Fox Ron Fox

LAS VEGAS -- The former family court marshal accused of sexually touching a woman who appeared in Family Court will be able to sue Clark County.

Former marshal Ron Fox, who was fired after an internal affairs investigation, did win a victory in court Tuesday. A judge will allow him to sue Clark County. Fox's attorney claims Fox wasn't fired according to the rules.

The I-Team broke the story in March 2013 and the video that led to the marshal's firing gained national notoriety. The courtroom video shows a woman claiming a family court marshal touched her breasts and the hearing master on the bench ignoring her pleas for justice.

The incident took place when Monica Contreras went to family court in Aug. 2011 for a routine hearing. She accused Fox, a court marshal, of taking her into another room and touching her breasts while searching for drugs. The search was not ordered by any judge.

"Ms. Contreras alleges that Mr. Fox used that lie to persuade her, coerce her, gain her consent to allow a hands on physical pat-down touch of her," said Robert Freeman, a Clark County attorney.

The video shows that when Contreras refused to recant her accusation as ordered by Fox, the marshal arrested her for the so-called charge of "making a false accusation against a peace officer." While this was occurring, Hearing Master Patricia Doninger played with Contreras' daughter instead of listening to Contreras' courtroom pleas.

"Why won't you listen to me?" Contreras pleaded in the video.

Doninger was terminated after the I-Team investigation, according to Senior Judge Charles McGee. Marshal Ron Fox was terminated after an internal affairs investigation validated Contreras' claims. But it is the hearing master's lack of action that forms the core of Fox's attempt to get his job back with back pay.

"The so-called egregious actions that he's accused of, which he denies, occurred in the presence, and with the acquiescence of a court commissioner. It wasn't as if there wasn't somebody decked with the full authority and prestige of the court in a black robe sitting there at the time," said Adam Levine, Fox's attorney.

Judge McGee decided that Fox has the right to sue Clark County for his job back. Clark County tried and failed to stay out of Fox's lawsuit. Fox's attorney says his client never got a fair chance to defend himself to internal affairs investigators before he was fired. Fox does still faces a lawsuit from Contreras and a federal grand jury investigation looking into a growing list of family court marshal abuse claims.

"I can't comment at all on the grand jury, but I can comment that a lot of the attention, you're responsible for," Levine said. "I think this case has been over sensationalized in the press. I don't know if it was just a slow news day or whatnot."

Fox had nothing to say to the I-Team. He only shook his head slightly in apparent disagreement when Clark County's attorney laid out the accusations against him.

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