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Harris County asst. D.A. reassigned after being accused of questioning sex assault victim

HOUSTON – The Harris County District Attorney’s Office reassigned an assistant district attorney after he allegedly refused to file charges in a case because the victim was “illegal.”

The announcement followed a statement released by the Houston Police Officer’s Union demanding that the DA’s office fire that prosecutor.

“Our officer was completely caught off guard,” HPOU President Joe Gamaldi said. “(The prosecutor) needs to be fired immediately.”

Police arrested Karl Bonner, 44, on a charged of driving while intoxicated and booked him at the Joint Processing Center, where investigators said he tried to sexually assault another inmate.

“That person screams for help, our officer gets in, arrests the suspect for attempting to sexually assault him, and the DA’s office won't take charges,” Gamaldi said. 

The prosecutor “asked the officer whether the complainant was 'illegal,'” according to HPOU.

“(The prosecutor) then stated that he would not touch that case since the complainant is 'illegal' and declined any charges.”

“Our policy is for prosecutors to consider only relevant information when determining whether criminal charges are warranted,” the DA’s Office said in a statement. “It is improper for them to consider such matters as immigration status ...”

The following business day, another officer presented the case to a different assistant district attorney, who filed a charge of attempted sexual assault against Bonner “after senior prosecutors reviewed video evidence that had not been previously presented,” the DA’s office statement also said. 

HPOU named the assistant district attorney allegedly involved in this incident, but the DA’s office did not confirm the name.