Houston assistant DA fired after immigration status question in sexual assault case


HOUSTON (CNN) – An assistant district attorney in Houston was fired Friday for refusing to pursue a sexual assault case. Houston police say the prosecutor was more concerned with the victim’s immigration status than the crime.

It’s a story that has now received national attention.

An assistant district attorney with the Harris County district attorney’s office was fired after allegedly questioning a sex assault victim’s immigration status and refusing to file charges on the suspect.

“I’m glad the D.A. finally took action on one of her top appointees that was hand-picked by her,” President of the Houston Police Officers Union Joe Gimaldi said.

We first heard about this case when Joe Gimaldi with the Houston Police Officers’ Union went to the media on Tuesday.

He said on Halloween night an HPD officer witnessed DWI suspect Karl Bonner expose himself and pull another inmate toward him. That victim yelled out for help.

But Gimaldi says when the HPD officer spoke with John Denholm at the DA’s office he was more interested in the victim’s immigration status instead of the sexual assault incident.

“Our officer reached out to us immediately,” Gimaldi said.

Soon after, Denholm was re-assigned, pending an internal investigation. As of Friday, he was let go.

“Other officers were able to follow up on the case a few days after this unfortunate incident and were actually able to get charges on that suspect,” Gimaldi said.

Bonner is now charged with DWI and sexual assault.

“As it turns out District Attorney Delhom, he actually did violate a policy,” Immigration Attorney Carlos Doroteo said.

A sentiment Gimaldi agrees with and hopes the immigrant community is not discouraged by this isolated incident.

“Please, please if you are the victim of a crime come forward. We will help you, we are not going to question your legal status nor should anyone in criminal justice question their status,” Gimaldi plead.

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