San Diego

Documents Shed New Light on Sex Assault, False Imprisonment Allegations Against Former SDPD Officer

Hundreds of newly-released documents reveal that former San Diego Police Officer Donald Moncrief was “deceptive and evasive” when questioned by sex crimes detectives about his alleged sexual battery of a female suspect.

“Officer Moncrief’s statements that nothing unusual happened during his contact with (the female suspect) and that he drove directly to the Las Colinas Women’s Detention facility all proved to be untrue,” investigators said.

But despite the woman’s corroborated allegations that Moncrief fondled her and exposed himself after arresting her in 2013 -- and a finding that Moncrief’s actions were “highly suspicious” -- investigators said the absence of additional evidence and Moncrief’s decision not to submit to a follow-up interview prevented them from confirming the sexual battery allegation.

Moncrief was not charged with any crimes stemming from his alleged misconduct with the female suspect. But he resigned from the department, and the city council later agreed to pay the woman $250,000 to settle a civil lawsuit she filed against the city.

The new documents were released August 10 under a state law that requires law enforcement agencies to make public previously confidential information about internal investigations and officer discipline.

Documents in the Moncrief case also reveal that investigators concluded Moncrief did break the law when he “falsely imprisoned” that suspect after arresting her on stolen vehicle charges. According to their report, Moncrief “drove her against her will to multiple unauthorized locations, intentionally diverting her from a direct route” from the scene of her arrest to the Women’s Jail in Santee.

Investigators said tracking information from Moncrief’s squad car showed he “violated her personal liberty rights by transporting her to unauthorized locations for non-official reasons.”

The SDPD detective who investigated the allegations against Moncrief asked the District Attorney to review the case for potential criminal charges against the officer.

No charges were filed. The District Attorney’s Office now says Moncrief was not charged because prosecutors did not have a good faith belief they could prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the internal investigation, Moncrief faced allegations that he violated six department procedures and one code of conduct, and committed two crimes.

Investigators upheld all those allegations, with the exception of the sexual battery charge.

The language in those reports is at times both specific and damning. In finding that Moncrief failed to search the suspect for weapons or contraband before putting her in his patrol car, investigators concluded that “Officer Moncrief’s inept, lackadaisical attitude towards officer safety is deplorable. By not searching a known gang member, arrested for a felony, who was in a stolen vehicle in which multiple types of ammunition were found, Officer Moncrief endangered the life of every law enforcement official” who came in contact with the suspect.

Moncrief was unavailable for comment on the information in the internal reports. His former attorney, citing legal ethics, told NBC 7 Investigates that he could not comment on the newly-released information about a former client.

"These documents show that our investigation was thorough and that we take any and all accusations of misconduct seriously. We will continue to hold SDPD employees to a high standard," SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said.

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