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The Region

Suits Spell Trouble From O.C. to U.N.

Police: Accused of harassment, former Assistant Sheriff Dennis LaDucer tried new start with Bosnian force, only to face new allegations.

September 15, 2002|JEAN O. PASCO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rees testified that after Bolkovac was fired, LaDucer wrote a memo critical of her that appeared designed to hurt her credibility. Rees also cited a U.N. investigation that concluded LaDucer shouldn't be rehired and that his "persistent denials raise serious questions about his integrity and his professionalism."

The London press reported the news with gusto, dubbing the story "The Sins of the Peacekeepers."

Trying to Clear Name

Back in San Clemente, LaDucer said he felt helpless to answer the accusations being made against him in Britain. So he flew to Bosnia to meet with U.N. investigators in an effort to clear his name. He said he gave officials the results of a lie-detector test he took in California that he said showed he was telling the truth about the brothel visit.

U.N. officials declined numerous requests from The Times to discuss the case or details of LaDucer's departure. But LaDucer provided two letters written to him by U.N. investigators, dated July 25, concluding there was no evidence that he had ever been at the brothel. One letter also recommended that he receive an apology.

LaDucer's sense of vindication was short-lived.

No apology was forthcoming, and two weeks after he received the letters, the British labor board ruled in Bolkovac's favor. Among its findings, the panel said LaDucer's memo was proof of "virulent animus" against her. The panel did not address whether LaDucer had visited the brothel.

Another hearing next month will determine how much compensatory damages Bolkovac is entitled to receive from DynCorp.

LaDucer recently got a new job in Orange County; he declined to name his employer. He and his wife have reconciled.

But he knows the Bosnia scandal, on top of the Orange County sexual harassment cases, has further hurt his reputation.

"It'll never go away, and it'll never be cleared up," he said. "I'm always coming from behind. It's embarrassing. People look at me say, 'That stupid SOB. He can't stay out of trouble.' "

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