Tag Archives: extramarital affairs

“Crowd-Pleasing, Gun-Toting, Tough-Talking” Colorado Sheriff Facing 6 Felonies, Including Extortion And Kidnapping

Last week, Terry Maketa was indicted on nine charges, including six felonies. Less than two years ago, Maketa was the sheriff of El Paso County in Colorado and a powerful Republican “rising star” within local politics.

Along with Former Sheriff Maketa, Former Undersheriff Paula Presley and Former Sheriff’s Office Commander Juan “John” San Agustin were also indicted by the same grand jury. Presley faces the same charges as Maketa, while San Agustin faces two felony charges.

Maketa and Presley were both charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and three separate counts of first degree official misconduct. San Agustin was also included on the kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. A PDF of the grand jury’s indictment can be found here.

Via Gazette.com:

The criminal investigation, led by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, turned up wide-ranging allegations involving abuses of power and reprisals against political rivals. Among the charges leveled at the three were that they conspired to force a domestic violence victim to recant her story to protect a deputy she accused of punching her – eventually causing her arrest and wrongful incarceration.

In another alleged scheme, Maketa threatened to pull a $5.2 million contract with the jail’s healthcare provider unless the company fired an employee who refused to run Presley’s aborted campaign for sheriff in 2013. The sheriff, who is married, was accused by subordinates of having an affair with Presley, which the pair have denied.

The grand jury also found that Maketa and Presley led a series of internal investigations in 2013 that accused or sought to accuse sheriff’s employees of stealing an internal affairs file belonging to then-sheriff’s candidate Bill Elder – igniting a controversy that threatened to end Elder’s political hopes and instead put the candidate of Maketa’s favor into office.

The grand jury panel met in secret at the El Paso County courthouse in a process overseen by prosecutors with the 18th Judicial District, comprising Arapaho, Elbert, Lincoln and Douglas counties. District Attorney George Brauchler declined to say how many people were on the panel, how many times they met, or what the final split was on the nine counts.

The county has paid more than $300,000 in claims against Maketa and other former Sheriff’s Office employees. Another $400,000 had been paid in fees for financial and personnel investigations and for the three Sheriff’s Office commanders put on paid leave.

Even though they are facing numerous felonies, their bail was set at just $10,000. All three of them have posted that bond and are currently free awaiting trial.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office Indictments

Along with various financial improprieties, at the heart of those charges is a case in which members of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office at Maketa’s direction (just doing their job) caused the girlfriend of a deputy to be arrested after she reported being assaulted by that deputy in order to cover up for him.

Via Gazette.com:

A woman’s face and jawline swelled – allegedly from a punch – and her arm showed bruises.

She blamed it on violent beatings at the hands of her boyfriend – but a month later, she was the one in jail, court documents show.

In 2013, to protect a deputy, then-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa directed a domestic violence victim to change her story and say she was the aggressor, a grand jury found in indicting the former sheriff and two others on Wednesday. Maketa then stood by as the woman was arrested and wrongfully jailed.

The deputy’s girlfriend also said she had been dragged inside their house, as well as pushed and hit on her head over the previous four months, the affidavit said. Some bruises were visible, according to Kaiser’s report.

When Kaiser pressed (Deputy Travis) Garretson on the allegations, he said “it was possible” he hit his girlfriend the previous night, the affidavit said. He also admitted to leaving a string of obscenity-laced voicemails on her phone, including one where he threatened, “I know what you are doing, I will get you back.”

Garretson was arrested and booked into the El Paso County jail on suspicion of third-degree assault and harassment, both misdemeanors.

What followed, however, was a plot to place the blame on Garretson’s girlfriend, Kellie Trull, 45, according to the indictment.

Garretson asked Maketa for help keeping his job in light of his arrest, the indictment said.
The sheriff responded by telling Trull to claim responsibility for starting the fight, for which she would not be arrested, the grand jury found. Presley reiterated those instructions – and the promise Trull would not be arrested, the indictment said.

Kaiser, the same sheriff’s detective who detailed Trull’s swollen face and bruises a month earlier, took the woman’s new confession in September 2013.

However, key details appear to be missing from that affidavit – a document that law enforcement officers must use to justify arrests.

Those details include:

– No mention the couple had worked at the El Paso County jail when the altercation took place. Garretson was a deputy there and Trull worked for Correctional Healthcare Companies, which provided medical services at the jail, the indictment said.

– No mention that Trull followed her about-face confession with the claim that Maketa and Presley told her to recant her statement and accept blame for the fight.

The affidavit largely focused on Trull’s admission that she instigated almost every altercation with Garretson, leaving him scratched and bruised. She also claimed to have been drunk when she drove to a friend’s house, the affidavit said.

Trull was arrested and booked into the Douglas County jail on suspicion of harassment and driving under the influence. She was held more than 24 hours, the grand jury found. Maketa and Presley later assured Garretson that “this could help” him with his own case, the indictment said.

Three Sheriff’s Office employees – Bureau Chief Al Harmon, then-Sgt. Robert Jaworski and Kaiser – said they did not think Trull should have been arrested.

Kaiser said she was following orders. Jaworski said he feared for his job. Harmon denied ordering the arrest, but nevertheless expressed fear about disobeying orders. (Emphasis added.)

Creepy Sheriff MaketaIncidentally, it was the combination of a sex scandal involving affairs Sheriff Maketa, who is married, was having with three female employees of the sheriff’s office, including Presley, and accusations of abusive treatments from other employees that started the whole investigation leading to those indictments.

And as is the usual case, a shirtless selfie ultimately led to his dramatic downfall.

Via Gazette.com:

For years, rumors circulated about improprieties in the Sheriff’s Office, but it was an article accompanied by a shirtless selfie of Maketa on the front page of The Gazette that brought to light accusations of sexual misconduct and abusive treatment of employees.

The article outlined complaints written by three Sheriff’s Office commanders. The complaints, submitted May 12, 2014, to the Board of El Paso County Commissioners and the federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, accused Maketa of discrimination, creating a hostile work environment and financial mismanagement.

The complaint named three women alleged to have had sexual relationships with Maketa: Undersheriff Paula Presley, Comptroller Dorene Cardarelle and the head of training for dispatchers, Tiffany Huntz. Maketa was married at the time. The Gazette also obtained more than 500 emails and text messages between Maketa, Cardarelle and Huntz.

The messages to Cardarelle were explicit.
“Wish you were with me” message accompanied this selfie of Sheriff Terry Maketa sent to a female subordinate.

In one message, a photo of a shirtless Maketa includes the message “wish you were with me.”

The fallout was immediate. County Commissioner Darryl Glenn said Maketa’s alleged affairs were the “worst-kept secret in town.” He said the rumors hadn’t been acted on because there had been no proof.

“This is the first time we’ve been presented evidence from people willing to put down their names,” Glenn said at a press 2014 conference.

Within a week, Commissioner Peggy Littleton called for Maketa to resign, citing a “lack of integrity” in his office.

Two days later, the commissioners gave him a unanimous “no confidence” vote, stating “we believe that leadership within the Sheriff’s Office has been compromised along with the functionality within the office.”

Maketa refused to step down, and instead ordered meetings to discuss employee morale. When one employee told The Gazette about the meetings, Maketa released the personnel file of the person he suspected of leaking the information.

In September 2014, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed it was investigating the sheriff with the help of the FBI. In December, Maketa submitted retirement paperwork, with plans to leave two weeks before the end of his third term.

Settlements given to Sheriff’s Office employees stand at more than $300,000, with another $400,000 spent by the county for investigations.

Remember folks, shirtless selfies are never a good idea. Neither is extortion, convincing domestic violence victims to lie in order to protect a deputy who beat her up and then kidnapping and falsely imprisoning her after she does so, or even cheating on your wife; especially with people you supervise at work. But above all else, if you feel the urge to take a shirtless selfie, fight it with every fiber of your being. Nothing good will come of it.

Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.