Allegations a candidate in Tuesday’s election has a checkered past of domestic abuse, alcohol and drug use have recently come to light, several of which were confirmed with a search of his public records.
A flyer being shown around the city this week claimed Tony Cervantes, 49, a candidate for Crescent City Council in next week’s election, has a long history of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse.
Cervantes did not want to talk about claims of drug and domestic abuse, or other allegations.
Diana Thomas, his ex-wife of 14 years, said she was surprised to hear that Cervantes was running for a seat on the city council and felt community members need to know his history before voting.
“Elected positions should be for upstanding members of the community,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately, he is not one of them.”
Thomas said she has minimal contact with Cervantes but feels the community needs to be informed.
“I just try to live my own life, but this is important,” she said. “He’s not from here and people don’t know who he really is.”
Thomas has handed out printed flyers, alleging a history of abusive behavior, child neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, and family violence. She said she has shared her story with several community members and some local political officials.
Asked Friday about the allegations, Cervantes said “I refuse to comment.” Asked why, he replied, “Everybody’s past is a learning experience. If you can’t learn from your past, there’s no room for growth. The past is the past.”
Asked why he chose to run for a seat on the city council, he said, “to help promote change.”
He also said his public record is open for review.
Del Norte County Superior Court records show Cervantes pled no contest to inflicting corporal injury on a spouse in 2011, was sentenced to three years’ probation, fined $770 and referred to a county batterer’s program. According to public records, he was found to be in violation of probation in 2012 and was sentenced to two days in county jail. Thomas said the violation stemmed from Cervantes becoming violent with her during a child custody exchange.
Cervantes pled guilty to DUI in 2005, was sentenced to two days in jail, three years’ probation and fined $1,595.
Cervantes was involved in four civil cases between 2011 and 2016, and had two moving violations. One of the civil cases was for custody of his children.
Thomas’ claims are backed by a child custody evaluation submitted to Del Norte Superior Court Judge William Follett in 2012.
The 27-page report by a licensed clinical social worker evaluated which parent should retain custody of their children, recommending to the court that Thomas be “granted permanent sole physical and sole legal custody.”
The recommendation said Cervantes “has a long history of parental neglect both during the marriage and subsequently, as he placed his own needs before those of his children,” and that his “dominance and control issues extended also to abusive punishments of all (his) children.”
The evaluation describes incidents of drug and alcohol abuse by Cervantes, along with incidents of physical, emotional intimidation, isolation and verbal abuse against Thomas. In the end, the evaluator made recommendations in her favor.
“It is the conclusion of this evaluator that (Cervantes’) behavior with (Thomas) is consistent with that of a battering husband throughout the relationship,” it reads. “Given the credible amount of domestic violence provided by (Thomas), the conviction for the same and the probation violation for (Cervantes’) assault on (Thomas) it is recommended that the father should not be considered for custody of his (children) at this time.”
Thomas said that just before Follett was to issue a decision on the case, Cervantes’ submitted to all conditions recommended by the evaluator.
Thomas said those conditions remain in place to this day, giving him eight hours of unsupervised time per week with his children.
Cervantes admitted only to “having a past,” asserting that if his public record is disclosed, other candidates should face similar scrutiny.
Reach Tony Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org