Former DA pleads guilty to touching women

Former Person County District Attorney Joel Brewer

July 8, 2010 2:47:35 PM PDT
Former Person County District Attorney Joel Brewer pleaded guilty Thursday to nine criminal charges against him.

Brewer was indicted in June on seven counts of assault on a female, one count of impersonating an officer and one count of willful failure to discharge his duties.

According to court papers, Brewer allegedly stopped motorists by flashing a gold badge. District Attorneys in North Carolina don't carry badges and can't make traffic stops.

Prosecutors said that Brewer touched women inappropriately - resulting in the misdemeanor assault charges.

All of the misdemeanors happened between June of 2008 and September of 2009.

In one assault, warrants say Brewer kissed a woman on her neck and grabbed her hand. In another, he allegedly put his hand on a woman's leg and touched the inside of her thigh. Another victim says Brewer touched her buttocks.

All of the acts were allegedly committed without the women's consent.

Deputy Attorney General Jim Coman called Brewer a predator and asked Superior Court Judge William Hamby Jr. of Cabarrus County to order him to undergo counseling.

"This is clearly a case of a person in power victimizing the powerless," Coman said. "This individual, probably because of the position he held, believed that he was above the law."

An affidavit also alleged Brewer "routinely dismissed random citations" - keeping them in a "manila folder in his office," separated into male and female piles.

It went on to state that at election time Brewer "reminded those people of what he did, asked them for their vote, and for help working the polls."

It was also revealed that back in 2008, the former DA had a personal relationship with one of the women he helped - directing an assistant DA to dismiss her case.

Attorney General Roy Cooper's Special Prosecutions Section and the SBI Professional Standards Division said it has been investigating Brewer since last November. He retired earlier this year as district attorney of Person and Caswell counties after 28 years.

Brewer didn't speak in court other than to answer the judge's questions. An attorney said he was sorry for the pain he caused.

"Joe Brewer apologizes for the actions that brought us here," defense attorney George Daniel said. "He apologizes for bringing disrepute and tarnish to the justice community."

Brewer has admitted that he has a mental problem and is undergoing counseling, Daniel said.

At sentencing, the judge did not send Brewer to jail. Instead, he gave him supervised probation and a $50,000 fine.

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