A Santa Rosa man contends his civil rights were violated when a tape of a sexually explicit jailhouse phone call between the man and his secret male lover was played for his girlfriend.
Richard A. Montgomery, 44, asked for assistance this month from the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after the matter was investigated by the Sonoma County grand jury.
The grand jury found a Sonoma County sheriff's detective may have broken the law when he played the recorded conversation for Montgomery's girlfriend during an investigation into a 2011 theft case.
Montgomery, who has a long criminal record, eventually pleaded no contest to five counts of felony elder theft and burglary related to a home repair business. He is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Montgomery contends the detective shared the recording with his girlfriend, a potential witness in the theft case, to gain her trust and show her she was being manipulated.
His lover, a 71-year-old Santa Rosa man who asked to be identified only by his first name, Jon, said Montgomery had been keeping his sexual orientation secret until the deputy exposed him to "get his girlfriend pissed off."
"I think he (the detective) overstepped his bounds," said Jon, who requested anonymity because he has not publicly disclosed his sexual orientation.
Until that time, Montgomery had introduced Jon to friends as his foster father, Jon said. Their relationship was exposed, he said, when the deputy played the conversation for Montgomery's girlfriend and told her they were having an affair.
The grand jury picked up the case after receiving complaints from the two men.
It urged the Sheriff's Office to develop policies on sharing recorded conversations with third parties. The panel also called on prosecutors to review the case for possible criminal wrongdoing.