A longtime Sonoma Developmental Center employee who was sentenced Thursday to eight months in jail and classified as a sex offender for making a patient fondle him was the subject of a past sexual harassment complaint and was involved in an incident 15 years ago that was "hushed up," according to court documents.
Rue Le Roy Denoncourt, 53, admitted the May 25 incident in which he led a woman with the mental capacity of a 4-year-old into a bathroom, dropped his pants and made her touch his penis.
He also admitted attempting a similar act with the woman's roommate a week or two earlier, but maintained they were the only two incidents of sexual misconduct in his 27-year career.
However, a former co-worker who came forward after Denoncourt's arrest said she was transferred to another unit after complaining of being sexually harassed by Denoncourt a year earlier.
She said Denoncourt received "infractions in the past" and was involved in the hushed-up incident but did not provide details, according to a Probation Department report.
Denoncourt was not previously charged with a crime and has no criminal history.
His lawyer, Roy Miller, said the 15-year-old incident wasn't of a sexual nature and was declared unfounded after a thorough investigation.
A Sonoma Developmental spokesman did not return a call for comment Thursday.
The fondling case arises as the Sonoma Developmental Center comes under new scrutiny for its investigation into allegations that a caregiver used a stun gun on patients. Advocates are calling for a state Department of Justice investigation into the matter involving Archie Millora, 38, who is believed to have used a Taser on 11 patients last fall.
So far, Millora has been charged only with misdemeanor weapons possession by the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors said they were hampered by the institution's in-house investigation.
Denoncourt was a psychiatric technician at the center since 1989. After his arrest for the fondling, which was witnessed by a co-worker, he told probation officials he was in a troubled marriage and had not had "relations" with his wife in five years.
He said he was tired of masturbating and wanted to see what would happen if he made a patient fondle him.
He didn't speak in court but expressed remorse for his actions in court papers. He resigned his position and surrendered his state license, Miller said.
"I'm just ashamed of myself," he said.
Denoncourt, who had been free on bail, was taken into custody Thursday to begin serving his sentence. He faced a maximum of three years in prison. He'll be out of jail in about three months with credit for time already served.
Also, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.