Civil suit filed in molest case
The alleged victim in a molestation case that ended in a mistrial in 2008 has filed suit in federal court against Nevada County, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and the alleged suspect.
Alicia Neronde, who turned 18 in 2009, is suing the county and former Nevada County animal control officer Tim Mienar, who was the manager of the county-run Animal Shelter at the time of the alleged molestation in 2008. Neronde alleged that Mienar had inappropriately touched her while she was an Regional Occupational Program student volunteering at the shelter.
Mienar resigned soon after the accusation surfaced and his criminal trial ended in October 2008 with the jury split 6-6. Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell decided not to retry the case.
Neronde, who was 16 at the time of the alleged incident, filed for the right to sue after she turned 18. She has retained Roseville attorney Anthony Poidmore. Poidmore represented local animal advocate and former shelter volunteer Susan Wallace in a whistle-blowing suit against the county Animal Shelter in which she claimed she was fired in 2007 for complaining about illegal and unethical activities. The suit was settled out of court, but the settlement details were kept confidential.
“I don’t know much about the family’s thoughts at the time (of the mistrial),” Poidmore said. “But (now) the family has determined something should be done about it.”
Mienar was assigned to Animal Control in 2002.
In Neronde’s suit, which was filed in federal court March 31, Mienar is listed as one of her supervisors and a mentor to the girl. The suit alleges that on March 10, 2008, Mienar took Neronde in a county-owned pickup to a remote area of the county, during work hours, made sexual advances and touched her without her consent.
Nevada County and the Sheriff’s Office are named as defendants because they knew, or should have known, of Mienar’s propensity to act in this manner, the suit said.
“I can’t talk specifically about the suit, because we haven’t been served yet,” Sheriff Keith Royal said. “But the (alleged) incident was very disturbing. I have to give the victim a lot of credit because she had the courage to come forward.
“This type of conduct is unacceptable and is condemned by the Sheriff’s Office,” Royal added. “Once this event was reported, we immediately took action by placing the employee off work and initiating a criminal investigation. Ultimately, Tim Mienar resigned and was criminally prosecuted. My hope is he never works in the public sector ever again.”
Neronde could not be reached for comment.
Her attorney declined to comment on the merits of the case, saying, “We’ll let it play out in court – that’s where it belongs.”
The suit alleges severe emotional and mental distress, embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish and anxiety and asks for unspecified damages. The suit also demands a jury trial.
While a date has not yet been set, Poidmore estimated the case would not come to trial before late 2011.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.
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