For the third time, prosecutors on Thursday delayed filing any charges against a Santa Rosa mother accused of grabbing the throat of a 12-year-old boy during a confrontation over bullying at her daughter’s school.
Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said he was still waiting for Sonoma County sheriff’s investigators to finish interviewing people who witnessed the encounter between the boy and Delia Garcia-Bratcher, 30.
Judge Dana Simonds said she would give prosecutors more time, prompting a frustrated response from Garcia-Bratcher’s attorney.
“Pick a day when you are actually ready,” said attorney Ben Adams, whose client has maintained her innocence.
“The investigation is the investigation. It takes as long as it takes,” Simonds said.
Simonds ordered both sides to return to court Aug. 28.
Garcia-Bratcher was on the Olivet Charter Elementary School campus on Willowside Road on May 16 to enroll one of her children when she confronted the boy, who she said had been calling her 10-year-old daughter names. A sheriff’s spokesman said the woman grabbed the boy’s throat and pushed him.
The boy ran to school staff, who took pictures of red finger marks on his neck. Garcia-Bratcher admitted confronting the boy about the name-calling but said she did not touch him.
Outside the courtroom Thursday, Garcia-Bratcher, who has six children, leaned against a window and cried while her attorney spoke with Bay Area reporters and TV crews. The case has attracted wide media attention.
“It’s ruining my life,” Garcia-Bratcher said of the delay to her attorney, who stepped away from the reporters to comfort her.
Adams said he will be surprised if the District Attorney’s Office files any charges against his client. Adams conducted his own investigation, interviewing several students and a teacher’s aide who apparently witnessed the encounter. His report concluded the boy lied about the incident and faked the red marks on his neck by grabbing himself.
Adams said he handed his report to investigators and included the names and contact information of the witnesses he interviewed.
“If they don’t know what happened, why did they arrest her in the first place?” Adams said.
After the hearing, Brockley said the Sheriff’s Office is diligently working to finish its investigation, which has been hampered in part by summer vacation. Brockley said he has also asked for additional information and interviews with people on the school grounds that day.
As the school year approaches, Garcia-Bratcher will not send her children to Olivet, Adams said.
“This is a big issue and a lot of parents are frustrated with the way the schools respond to bullying,” Adams said. “For her to stand up to a bully I think was super appropriate.”
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.