Six months after his girlfriend accused him of pointing his service pistol at her, Officer Juan Monzon faced her again in state Superior Court on Friday, where a new revelation surfaced: He’s not the father of her child after all.
Monzon (pictured), a 14-year veteran of the police force, appeared at 11 a.m. in front of Judge Maureen Keegan in Courtroom C of the Elm Street courthouse. He’s facing charges of felony threatening, felony risk of injury to a child, and third-degree assault, stemming from a January incident in which Monzon, who’s married, allegedly threatened and attacked his longtime girlfriend. Monzon has pleaded not guilty.
Monzon faced his girlfriend in court on Friday for the first time since the incident in court. With a court marshal standing between her and Monzon, she read quickly and quietly from a prepared statement. She said that Monzon abused her for years and shouldn’t be trusted with a gun.
Monzon’s lawyer, Rick Silverstein, cautioned the judge that the girlfriend was investigated for making a false complaint in relation to the incident with Monzon. A warrant application in that investigation was submitted but not signed.
The girlfriend had claimed that Monzon fathered her child. The court hearing Friday revealed that Monzon is not the father of the child, who was 2 years old and present at the time of the incident. Paternity testing found that she is not his daughter.
Judge Keegan ordered Monzon to take a “family violence education program” and undergo psychological evaluation. She set another court date for six months hence, at which point the case against Monzon would be dismissed, pending successful completion of the program.
The hearing began with a presentation of the allegations in the case by prosecuting attorney David Strollo. On Jan. 25, while on duty, Monzon pointed his service weapon at his girlfriend and threatened to kill her, while her daughter was present, Strollo said. Later that day, the two had a “physical confrontation,” he said.
The girlfriend rose and read from her prepared statement. She said Monzon is “a risk if he carries a gun.” She said he was aggressive, physically abusive and intimidating, and that he used to take pictures of himself having sex with her while he was on duty. He told her that if she tried to call the cops to report his behavior, he would hear it over the police radio, she said.
“He has been abusive for over four years,” she said. While “on paper” he might be a first-time offender, she argued, in “real life” he is a repeat offender.
Asked for clarification by the judge, attorney Strollo stated that the allegations raised by the girlfriend—of four years of abuse—are not part of the states case against Monzon.
Strollo also acknowledged that police applied for a warrant to arrest the girlfriend for making a false statement. “There are inconsistencies” regarding her accounts, he said. Strollo said that would make the prosecution’s case more difficult, should the matter go to trial. He pointed out that Monzon has abided by the protective order against him, and not attempted to contact the girlfriend.
Silverstein told the judge that girlfriend’s description of what happened on Jan. 25 is not corroborated by physical or third-part evidence. He said Monzon has never been the subject of a complaint during 14 years as a police officer, and he missed out on a promotion to detective as a result of the case against him. Monzon has been on “desk work” since his arrest, Silverstein said.
Monzon is eligible for the family violence education program, Judge Keegan said. She said the question becomes: “Is this a fair resolution to the case?” She said she had to balance the charges against Monzon, with the inconsistencies in the girlfriend’s account.
“Nobody ever walks away from court happy,” Keegan said. “And today is no different.” She assigned Monzon to the program and ordered him to abide by the protective order for another six months, during which time he will not be able to carry a gun.
Monzon declined to comment after the hearing.