Terry Maketa, former El Paso County Sheriff, was indicted Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by a Grand Jury on six felony counts, including extortion, tampering with a witness, and second-degree kidnapping. The latter two charges stem from Maketa and codefendants Paula Presley and Juan San Agustin intimidating a witness to keep her from testifying against her abuser, a deputy under Maketa’s supervision.
After a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in August 2013 for assaulting his girlfriend, Maketa directed the woman to recant her story and tell investigators she “instigated the incident in order to allow (the deputy) to get his job back,” the indictment alleges. When the woman, a civilian jail employee, followed his instructions and provided a false confession about being “the aggressor,” she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, assault and driving under the influence.
“Detective Lisa Kaiser, the interviewing and arresting officer, did not believe she had probable cause to arrest (the woman) for either crime, but arrested (her) because the order came from her superiors,” the indictment says.
Maketa was booked and bonded out of jail on Thursday, May 26 . Maketa had resigned in disgrace in 2014, ahead of a recall effort, amidst charges of sexual misconduct, corruption, and incompetence in his office.
Maketa was one of the so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” involved in a lawsuit against Colorado’s stricter gun laws, including magazine size limits and background check requirements.
Colorado media outlets have capitalized on the lurid sexual content of the Maketa case – Westword, the Denver Post, and the Colorado Springs Gazette have all run stories emphasizing the conduct of the “Shirtless Sheriff”. We’re all sick of that steamy shower selfie, so, please, Pols, don’t post it in this diary.
Your local media will not emphasize this point: Maketa (and co-defendents Presley and San Agustin) threatened, arrested, and jailed a witness to keep her from testifying about abuse she had received from one of Maketa’s deputies. This conduct was and is part of a system which makes it virtually impossible for victims of domestic abuse to get justice, if their batterer happens to be a cop.
Some chilling statistics from Purple Berets, a support organization for victims of police domestic violence:
Domestic violence is 2 to 4 times more common in police families than in the general population. In two separate studies, 40% of police officers self-report that they have used violence against their domestic partners within the last year. In the general population, it’s estimated that domestic violence occurs in about 10% of families.
In a nationwide survey of 123 police departments, 45% had no specific policy for dealing with officer-involved domestic violence.
In that same survey, the most common discipline imposed for a sustained allegation of domestic violence was counseling. Only 19% of departments indicated that officers would be terminated after a second sustained allegation of domestic violence.
In San Diego, a national model in domestic violence prosecution, the City Attorney typically prosecutes 92% of referred domestic violence cases, but only 42% of cases where the batterer is a cop.
Diane Wetendorf, a victim’s advocate and author , has written a Handbook for Victims of Police Domestic Violence. In her introduction, she states:
If your abuser is an officer of the law, you may be afraid to:
- Call the police — He is the police.
- Go to a shelter — He knows where the shelters are located.
- Have him arrested — Responding officers may invoke the code of silence.
- Take him to court — It’s your word against that of an officer, and he knows the system.
- Drop the charges — You could lose any future credibility and protection.
- Seek a conviction — He will probably lose his job and retaliate against you.
Yes, it’s disgusting that Maketa and his playmates were schtupping each other and playing games on the taxpayer’s dime. It’s deplorable that they hid corruption and cost overruns in their department. The citizens of El Paso County have been better served since Maketa resigned and Sheriff Bill Elder took over the Department.
Hypocrisy reigns with the “Focus on the Family” crowd in the Springs – conspicuously absent has been any comment condemning Maketa’s conduct from Darryl Glenn, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Doug Lamborn, or any other Tea Party Republicans from El Paso County. Glenn was one of the EPCO commissioners who overlooked Maketa’s shenanigans, including the “open secret” of his sexual liasons within his department, for two years, and approved all of his budgets. It wasn’t until the scandals hit the press that Glenn and the other commissioners finally asked Maketa to resign.
Justice has been served cold – three years cold. For Maketa and his cohorts, and Darryl Glenn and the other EPCO Commissioners who ignored the red flags and kept on approving Maketa’s budgets, who perpetuated the Good Old Boy network by silencing victims, covering up for abusers, and maintaining a Blue Wall between victims of abuse and safety, cold justice is as good as it’s going to get, and better late than never. For Priscilla Samento, wife of retired Canon City police officer, it was just plain too late, when in 2014, her husband killed her, then himself. That’s too often the case with police families. Police own and use guns, and victims are twelve times more likely to be killed in domestic abuse if their partner owns a firearm.
Readers, I ask you to be aware of the plight of victims of police domestic violence, and help if you can.
Graphic from Purple Berets
American Bar Association: Domestic Violence Statistics