SANTA ANA, CALIF. (CN) – A Ventura County Deputy Sheriff says her boss violated her constitutional rights by ordering her to stay away from her fiancé, whom she lives with, while the Sheriff’s Department investigated him.
Claudia Valenciana says Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks and Cmdr. Cheryl Wade made her sign a “non-contact order” promising to “permanently and unconditionally ‘discontinue’ a relationship with her fiancé, presumably including breaking their engagement, canceling their marriage, and terminating the family bonds that have formed between their children,” according to her federal lawsuit
She says Wade threatened to fire her if she refused to sign the order and obey it. Valenciana is on paid administrative leave, according to a Ventura County memo.
Her fiancé, Robert Perez, is allegedly under investigation for felony charges of domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, intimidation of witnesses and victims, and obstructing or resisting officers, according to the non-contact order.
Valenciana, a 10-year veteran at the Sheriff’s Department, says the order includes an exception that applies to her.
“Members shall avoid associating with persons who are under criminal investigation or indictment or who are regularly known to be involved in criminal activity,” the memo states. “Members shall only associate with such persons in their official capacity or where unavoidable because of personal family relationships.”
Valenciana says she has kicked Perez out of her house to keep her job. Since then, she says, she has had to explain Perez’s absence to her 10-year-old son, who “does not understand why his mother’s employer is requiring her to stay away from Perez and Perez’s son Robert.” Valenciana says she has had to hire people to help with the housework and child care Perez used to take care of.
Valenciana is represented by Marc Berger with Stone Busailah.