L.A. County Sheriff’s Chief Says She Quit 34-Year Career After ‘Highly Unethical’ Demand to Rehire Deputy Fired for Abuse

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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Caren Mandoyan, left, looks on as newly elected L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva prepares to have his new badge pinned on him by his wife during a ceremony Dec. 3, 2018. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Caren Mandoyan, left, looks on as newly elected L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva prepares to have his new badge pinned on him by his wife during a ceremony Dec. 3, 2018. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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A top official in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said she left the agency after 34 years rather than carry out what she said was a “highly unethical” and “unheard of” directive from Sheriff Alex Villanueva to reinstate a fired deputy and alter his disciplinary record, court papers reviewed by The Times show.

Alicia Ault, who served as chief of the department’s professional standards and training division before her resignation last year, said she was told by the incoming sheriff’s chief of staff that it was Villanueva’s “No. 1 priority” to reinstate Caren Carl Mandoyan before Villanueva took office so it would appear to have been done by the administration of former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, according to a deposition she gave in the county’s lawsuit over the reinstatement, which was filed in court Wednesday.

Ault’s deposition is part of the county’s unusual legal action against Villanueva, Mandoyan and the Sheriff’s Department. County supervisors and watchdogs, including the county inspector general, have criticized the sheriff for rehiring Mandoyan after he was fired in 2016 for domestic violence and for lying about his actions.

Supervisors asked Villanueva to rescind the hiring, saying it sends a troubling message to victims of domestic abuse, but the sheriff has refused.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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