Tulare County will pay $2.2 million to settle civil-rights lawsuits filed by the five victims of former Tulare County sheriff’s Deputy William Nulick, who was convicted of sexual assault under color of authority, an attorney representing the victims said Thursday.
The settlement was reached Tuesday night, he said. If it becomes final, the settlement would end two lawsuits involving incidents from 2014.
The matter was on the Board of Supervisors closed session agenda Tuesday, county spokeswoman Carrie Crane said, and confirmed that the proposed settlement is for $2.2 million.
“The county is acting diligently in connection with the matter involving former Deputy William Nulick,” the county said in a statement. “However, at this time, settlements with the plaintiffs have not been finalized. The board is moving forward with the best interests of everyone in mind, including the victims…”
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Two years ago, Nulick pleaded no contest to two felony counts of oral copulation under color of authority and two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.
The board is moving forward with the best interests of everyone in mind, including the victims.
In January 2016, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Montejano sentenced Nulick to five years in state prison, and he must register as a sex offender for life.
Attorney Brian Kabateck of Los Angeles represented a victim who was forced into a sex act and reported what happened to authorities, and four other victims who came forward after Nulick’s arrest with tales of harassment and sexual battery.
“We’re very happy the county decided to do the right thing,” Kabateck said Thursday.
“We hopes it’s a message sent to all of law enforcement that there’s a price to pay if they’re not monitoring their own deputies and that they can do more to protect the public, even from rogue police officers and deputies like this case,” he said.
The sheriff’s department said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux “took immediate and appropriate action” when the incident was reported.
Nulick, a deputy for about two years when he was arrested in October 2014, resigned after being placed on administrative leave.
The main victim, identified as Alma M., was driving near Monson when Nulick pulled her over. She speaks only Spanish and said in court papers that Nulick spoke to her in broken Spanish.
She told him she had no driver’s license and he told her that was a “big problem,” the lawsuit states.
We hopes it’s a message sent to all of law enforcement that there’s a price to pay if they’re not monitoring their own deputies
Brian Kabateck, attorney
He asked her if she had illegal drugs while pointing at her breasts, then groped her from behind in several places using the palms of his hands, the lawsuit said.
He told her he could have her car towed and asked what she would do to avoid getting a ticket. She said she would “thank him for his courtesy,” the lawsuit states.
The officer told her he wanted to have sex with her, but she said “no” and began crying. He told her she had five minutes to think it over or he’d arrest her. She followed him to a secluded location, where he forced her to perform a sexual act, according to the lawsuit.
The next day, she reported the incident to authorities.
The victim, who lives in Visalia and has three children, said the experience changed her forever and made her mistrust police, she said in an interview Thursday.
“I don’t feel free to just walk around town or go about my day, my routine,” she said. “Since this incident, I have felt damaged. I can’t help but feel bad and not valuable. I have constant flashbacks throughout the day that I can’t avoid having. Recently, I started experiencing panic attacks, and I have a lot of anxiety.”