Johnette Hardiman, the deputy prosecutor who decided last week not to file a sexual complaint against a Hialeah policeman charged by the prosecutor, has resigned as the leader of a women's rights group in Miami-Dade County.
Hardiman, an experienced prosecutor, resigned her resignation from the Miami-Dade Women's Fund on Thursday, as it was based on her treatment of the state investigation into Hialeah Police Sgt.Jesus Menocal Jr., according to the charity. Hardiman's resignation took effect immediately – 12 days before the end of her two-year term as chairperson on December 31, 2019.
"I'm proud of the years I've spent with the Women's Fund and will always support the mission," said Hardiman in her resignation letter.
"She thought it would be in the organization's best interest to resign," said Kathy Andersen, managing director of the women's fund, the Miami Herald Thursday. "We appreciate Johni's decision to withdraw from the organization and are grateful for her many years of service on the board."
Founded 27 years ago, Women's Fund has partnered with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and federal agencies to lead the campaign to fight sex trafficking during the upcoming NFL championship game in February 2020.
In 2016, Hardiman refused to charge menocal for sexual battery, improper detention, and unlawful compensation after four girls and women claimed he sexually assaulted and threatened them four years ago. Hardiman declined to file charges because the alleged victims lacked credibility and the evidence overall was insufficient.
But last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged civil rights violations against Menocal and accused him of threatening to have sex with a teenager and a young woman. The new case was the result of an FBI investigation launched after the prosecutor's office refused to prosecute the Hialeah official.
The 32-year-old Menocal pleaded not guilty to the Federal Supreme Court in Miami on Wednesday. He was released by FBI agents at the Hialeah police headquarters last Friday after his arrest.
Menocal, who, despite the criminal allegations, was an excellent 13-year-old veteran of the Hialeah squad, was able to live in prison for the first charge for "kidnapping" the underage teenager by holding her in a camera-less room in the police station while being pressured to have sex with him. The second charge against the young woman, who is said to have been stopped on the street and forced to have sex, can be up to ten years old.
Menocal has been accused of sexually assaulting and threatening the four girls and women since 2015, although only two of the alleged victims are mentioned in his indictment. He is accused of having instructed a minor to take off their clothes "for their own sexual satisfaction", to expose themselves to the second victim and to take them. He was on duty both times.