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Deputy D.A. Accused of Restaurant Fracas

November 10, 1987|TERRY PRISTIN | Times Staff Writer

The co-owners of a West Hollywood restaurant have accused a deputy district attorney of creating a disturbance in their restroom and committing battery on one of them when they asked her to leave, it was learned Monday.

After Victoria Shemaria and Mary Sweeney made a citizens' arrest of Guerin Butterworth, the Los Angeles County prosecutor retaliated by accusing the restaurant owners of trying to forcibly eject her, Sweeney said.

As a result, battery citations were issued against all three women, who were ordered to appear in Beverly Hills Municipal Court on Nov. 24, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Butterworth, 31, a deputy district attorney since December, declined to comment on the Nov. 3 incident.

The Sheriff's Department supplied only sketchy details.

District attorney's spokesman Al Albergate said his office is reviewing the case to determine if any disciplinary action should be taken against Butterworth, who is assigned to the Bellflower-area office.

Because a conflict of interest exists, the matter has been referred to the state attorney general's office.

Shemaria, 45, and Sweeney, 33, owners of Tex Mex Cafe at 1108 N. Flores St., said the dispute began about 9 p.m. after they went to check on screams emanating from the women's restroom.

Butterworth, 31, apparently distraught over either losing or misplacing a 2.5-carat diamond ring worth at least $16,000, had locked herself in the bathroom, the owners said.

"She was sobbing and howling, and there were blood-curdling screams coming out of the bathroom," said Shemaria, who is also an attorney.

She and Sweeney said Butterworth tore a toilet paper holder off the wall and hurled decorative baskets.

After the owners asked Butterworth to leave, her male companion opened the door, and "she started in with the four-letter words," Shemaria said, adding that the prosecutor told them: " 'I'm a deputy district attorney and I can do anything I want.' "

The owners said Butterworth slapped Sweeney across the face twice and tried to push her out the door but slammed her back into the doorjamb instead.

At that point, the owners say, they asked an employee to call the sheriff's substation, but Butterworth did not emerge from the bathroom until deputies went in to get her.

The owners say they never laid a hand on Butterworth.

Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Walker said the parties in the dispute "were very adamant about filing citizen's arrests against each other."

Butterworth's companion, Gary Anderson, was booked on suspicion of public drunkenness, Deputy Richard Dinsmoor said.

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