UPDATE: Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued a defense in response to our call for resignation in which he either misunderstands or deliberately mischaracterizes our objections to his and Martinez’ conduct. On behalf of AZ NOW and Central Phoenix NOW, Dianne Post responded to Montgomery’s comments in a Letter to the Editor that was published in the Arizona Republic on Friday, April 26. See the text below:
Bill Montgomery wants us to believe he's a champion for women.
The Maricopa County attorney responded to our April 12 call for his resignation by ignoring the bigger picture and painstakingly demonstrating how, after his own investigation uncovered years of sexual misconduct by Juan Martinez, he issued Martinez a written reprimand, required training, and denied Martinez a raise - for that year, anyway.
Montgomery wants us to interpret his modest actions as robust support for women. To overlook the fact that Martinez is still a top prosecutor, working big cases, because Montgomery employs women and gives them supervisory roles. Montgomery apparently still lives in a pre-#MeToo era, where powerful men protect their friends while expecting applause for symbolic gestures of disapproval. Montgomery could have condemned Juan Martinez’s behavior as inexcusable and pledged to ensure similar future conduct would never happen by, say, removing Martinez from his post. Instead, Montgomery clearly thinks he’s done everything necessary. We demanded accountability from Montgomery. He gave us excuses. The only one reassured now is Martinez, who knows Montgomery will go to great lengths to shield him from consequences. But we still say enough. We had the right information, just not the right county attorney.
We, a group of 18 local, state, and national organizations, as well as four state legislators, have signed and delivered this letter to Bill Montgomery, the elected head prosecutor of Maricopa County demanding that he resign in light of the State Bar of Arizona complaint filed against his top lieutenant, Juan Martinez. The Bar complaint alleges sexual harassment and misconduct by Martinez, and the letter asserts that Montgomery must be held accountable for his role in protecting Martinez, preventing transparency around the allegations, and enabling his toxic behavior.Download the letter.