Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2015

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Law Enforcement:

Constable’s deputy fired days after filing discrimination complaint

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

A constable’s deputy who filed a retaliation and religious discrimination complaint Monday against the Las Vegas Township Constable was fired Thursday morning.

Deputy Ray Jacoby’s termination only bolsters his contention that Constable John Bonaventura was retaliating when Jacoby was informed last week he was under investigation for violating policy, said Ben Scroggins, a former federal public defender who is representing Jacoby.

“I thought their initial investigation was retaliatory,” Scroggins said. “And I think this result was predetermined.”

Dean Lauer, deputy chief constable, confirmed Jacoby’s termination but said he could not comment on internal personnel matters.

Jacoby’s troubles with the constable date to June, when he was suspended for five days. Jacoby, 57, who has been with the office about six years, is fighting that suspension, having filed a letter to the constable for attorney’s fees and back pay.

Jacoby’s name also came up in a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint filed in July with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Clark County Office of Diversity. The complaint was filed by Jacoby’s girlfriend, Kristy Henderson, who was also a deputy constable.

In her complaint, Henderson listed numerous instances of alleged sexual harassment. She also wrote that in June, after Jacoby was suspended, she confronted Bonaventura, telling him that Jacoby was suspended without due process codified in state law. Henderson was fired in late July.

A day after a story about Henderson’s complaint appeared last week in the Sun, Jacoby was informed he was being investigated for alleged misconduct. The misconduct was stated this way in an Aug. 9 memo from Lt. Sadi Hadjadi: “It is alleged that you requested confidential records of a person, which are accessible through a secured computer link that requires authorized access.”

That incident took place May 11.

Scroggins explained the incident, saying Jacoby was walking to his office when a man, noting Jacoby’s uniform, said he was looking for a job but said he might have a warrant for his arrest. Jacoby asked someone in the Constable's Office to run a criminal background check on the man, Scroggins added; it came back with no warrants.

During an interview Monday among Scroggins, Jacoby and Constable's Office staff, Scroggins said, “No one was able to pinpoint any misconduct that (Jacoby) allegedly committed.

“When I questioned the procedures he was supposed to have violated, they ended the interview; they said, ‘That’s enough questions.’”

Scroggins added that Jacoby was obligated to investigate the man’s story.

“If, as a law enforcement officer, you are given any reason to believe someone might be a threat to the community, you have a duty to check it out,” he said.

In his EEOC complaint, Jacoby alleges religious discrimination, too. He referred to the Sun story about Henderson’s sexual discrimination complaint. Henderson has alleged that sometime between June and July 2012, she was in Bonaventura’s office with two other employees when one of them said, “The office needs to have its female (Henderson), its Jew (Ray) and its black, (another employee named).”

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