Video shows jail sexual assault that led to prosecutor's firing

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There is now video offering some clarity into the firing of an assistant district attorney over how he handled an attempted sexual assault charge.

ABC13 has obtained the surveillance video of an incident that happened early in the morning of Nov. 3 in the joint inmate processing center shared by Houston and Harris County.

In this video, the suspect, Karl Bonner, is seated in the middle of a group of four men who are all handcuffed to their chairs. Bonner is seen on video pulling out his genitals, then masturbating while handcuffed. He's then seen grabbing the man next to him. That man pulls away and gets up, but can't leave because he is also handcuffed. At this point, police officers are called over by the men.

Soon after the incident happened, the Houston Police Union went on the offensive, accusing then-prosecutor John Denholm of first asking about the victim's immigration status, then refusing to take sexual assault charges.

RELATED: Sex assault victim's immigration status put into question by prosecutor

The allegations made national news. An investigation was conducted, and District Attorney Kim Ogg eventually fired Denholm.

In the ensuing days, Bonner was charged with attempted sexual assault and remains behind bars. His attorney says he is overcharged because of the national attention on the case.

"A misdemeanor, indecent exposure," attorney Lisa Andrews proclaimed. "I think that's what it is and I think that's clearly what the video shows. Certainly not attempted sexual assault, which is a third-degree felony."

Andrews says the well-known discord between the police union and the district attorney's office has made this case more difficult for her client.

The union's president, Joe Gamaldi, says they were clearly in the right.

"I think we all know what the ADA should have done, which is he should have done his job," said Gamaldi. "Which is take the charge, based the victim's statement, and officer statement, and he never should have questioned his immigration status."

On that point, Ogg agrees, saying in a statement, "It is wrong to ask about a victim's immigration status. It's against our policy, and it won't be tolerated. We treat everyone equally under the law, no matter how they came to be here."

Andrews says she hopes the attention from the former prosecutor's actions fade away, so her client can get a fair trial.

"What will come out in court, if the facts actually come out, if a jury is looking at this case, I don't think they will find my client guilty of this felony," said Andrews.

ABC13 contacted former prosecutor Denholm. He told us over the phone that he was busy and didn't comment.

Bonner and the alleged victim were originally arrested for DWI. They were both being processed on their individual arrests when the incident occurred.

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