ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis police sergeant connected to the investigation of alleged sexual assaults of female officers and civilians by male officers has been charged with tampering with a witness — a punishment her attorney claims is retaliation by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office for the sergeant’s connection to former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ case.
Prosecutors for Gardner’s office charged St. Louis police Sgt. Jatonya Clayborn-Muldrow, 48, Tuesday with the misdemeanor, alleging Clayborn-Muldrow told a civilian employee of the police department who confided in her about a sexual assault at the hands of another officer it was a “misunderstanding” and to call her alleged attacker and explain it, according to court documents.
5 On Your Side first reported the alleged sexual assaults exclusively in March 2020.
As many as seven women, including at least three police officers, accused multiple St. Louis police officers of sexual assault dating back to 2010, according to documents obtained by 5 On Your Side.
In all, four officers were put on administrative duty.
Clayborn-Muldrow’s attorney Peter Bruntrager said Gardner’s office has a clear conflict of interest in this case because his client helped investigate whether Gardner’s investigator William Tisaby lied when he said he did not take notes during the interrogation of an alleged invasion of privacy victim -- even though video evidence proved otherwise.
Gardner also claimed she had no knowledge of Tisaby’s notetaking during the interview, but the indictment alleged she did know about it and did not attempt to correct it or report it to police.
Attorneys for Greitens attacked Gardner and her office over the notetaking controversy, accusing them of withholding evidence and she ultimately dismissed the case.
Days after Clayborn-Muldrow finished her report on the matter in mid-March, her attorney Peter Bruntrager said his client was put on administrative duty.
“We have notified everybody possible that there is a direct conflict of interest in this case and we’ve been ignored at every step,” Bruntrager said.
He said there is also a second conflict of interest in the case because his client reported the alleged assault to the commander of Internal Affairs, which makes that commander a witness in the case.
“She has been an investigator with the police for over 20 years, she knows how to handle criminal cases and she’s innocent of these charges and we will contest them,” Bruntrager said.
But prosecutors have a different take. They say the timing of the sergeant's administrative duty has to do with the day she went into internal affairs asking questions about the investigation while the alleged victim was there to report it.
According to court documents, on Dec. 15, 2019, the victim said she was with her alleged attacker at his home talking on the couch when he put his hand under her pants. The alleged victim said, “No,” and got up to leave, according to the documents.
As she was walking away, the officer grabbed her arm, pushed her against a wall and exposed himself to her and assaulted her, according to the documents.
On Feb. 7, 2020, the victim told Clayborn-Muldrow what happened and did not tell her the identity of her alleged attacker.
On March 13, 2020, Clayborn-Muldrow contacted the alleged victim and asked again for the name of the offender. The alleged victim did not tell her, but Clayborn-Muldrow asked her if it was an officer with the initials L.L., and the alleged victim confirmed that it was, according to the documents.
On March 15, Clayborn-Muldrow invited the alleged victim to lunch and “questioned her for nearly two hours about the sexual assault,” according to the documents.
She told the alleged victim it was “just a misunderstanding,” and told her to call L.L. and explain the misunderstanding to him, according to the documents.
“Defendant did provide the victim with information about how to report the sexual assault to internal affairs investigators,” according to the documents.
Instead, on March 16, 2020, the alleged victim reported the assault to police, and, while she was being interviewed by internal affairs investigators, Clayborn-Muldrow appeared and asked who was investigating the complaints made against L.L, according to the documents.
Clayborn-Muldrow's attorney said she was placed on administrative duty that same day.
Neither Gardners' office nor the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department could be reached for comment late Tuesday night.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained an inaccurate description of the alleged victim's employment.