Orange County Sheriff Left Deputy on Patrol After Sexual Assault and He Found Another Victim

As you might expect, Dana Alden Fox—the private lawyer who recently represented the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) in its battle to avoid accountability for keeping an accused rapist on patrol duty and the resulting disastrous consequences for a young woman who appeared on The Real Housewives of Orange County—is a serious fellow. Fox long ago proved himself an aggressive defender of Southern California police officers accused of corruption and the law-enforcement agencies that try to protect such employees. In 2013, for example, I detailed his taxpayer-funded protection of two Fullerton cops who ordered a man unaware of his constitutional rights to step out of his home so they could lamely arrest him for public intoxication.

The lanky, beak-nosed 1985 McGeorge School of Law graduate who isn’t prone to being outwitted or outworked during trials can be as wily as his name, which is why former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt probably hired him in the sensational Bryan Stow beating case. Fox dresses meticulously; voices objections in a plaintiff’s wail worthy of an Oscar; shifts effortlessly between sneering brute and compassionate pal, depending on his needs; and, because hygiene must be a worry, flosses during breaks in testimony. He’s also one of the region’s most entertaining legal advocates.

When Fox’s courtroom opponents give opening and closing statements, he waits for judges to focus their attention on a computer screen displaying spoken words in real time before launching into campy Paul Lynde-like performances, a barometer of his disapproval of what jurors are hearing. He puckers his lips as if he’s sucking on sourball candies, shakes and swirls his head while scribbling dramatically on yellow Post-it notes, drops his chin to his chest, and throws his hands palms-up on a table before staring at the ceiling. My favorite is his rendition of a Slurpee brain freeze accentuated by forcing his eyes wide open for five or six seconds as if he’d seen Satan. More unintended hilarity ensues when, after such spectacles, Fox launches into an exasperated, arms-waving diatribe accusing opposing attorneys of unfairly manipulating jurors.

But there’s nothing funny about what happened to then-21-year-old Alexa Curtin in Dana Point in the wee hours of June 28, 2014. During a civil trial in Los Angeles this month, Curtin attorney Dan Balaban told jurors OCSD Deputy Nicholas Lee Caropino knocked on Curtin’s Nissan Versa window with his flashlight; gained entry; spread her legs; “rammed his fist” into her vagina; forced oral copulation; ignored her screams; inserted his penis for intercourse; yelled, “Take that, bitch”; and, about 20 minutes later, ejaculated.

“When he drove away in his car, he took a piece of me I never got back,” a weeping Curtin testified at a two-day trial with a federal jury of four women and four men. “I was scared for my life. . . . This guy had a badge and a gun and the ability to kill me.”

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