SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo made a lengthy public apology Tuesday morning at the first supervisors’ meeting he has attended since he entered an alcohol treatment program after his arrest for prowling outside a woman’s apartment last month.
Carrillo, 32, who represents the 5th District that includes southwest Santa Rosa and western Sonoma County, also admitted that he suffers from alcoholism.
“To each and all whom I have hurt, I apologize. Could I give up everything I own to turn back the clock on the early morning of July 13 for a just a few moments? Of course I would. But I cannot not turn back time,” Carrillo said.
“Instead, I have spent the last five weeks on an effort to turn back a disease I have had for some time, and have denied and disregarded to the detriment of others and myself,” he said.
“I never faced the reality that my alcoholism was a disease, a disorder of serious magnitude, and that to face it would take a lifetime of hard work,” Carrillo said.
“I regret that it took the absurdity of my behavior in July to end any question about the depth of my problem,” he said.
At about 3:40 a.m. on July 13, a woman who lives near Stony Point Road and West Third Street in Santa Rosa called 911 to report that someone had tried to enter her bedroom through a window.
She then called police again and said a man had knocked on her front door and identified himself as a neighbor, then ran away.
Officers responded and arrested Carrillo—who was wearing only socks and underwear and carrying a cellphone—on suspicion of prowling and burglary, police said.
Police said the screen on the bedroom window had been torn enough so that someone could reach in and try to open the window. The woman said she was awakened by the sound of blinds moving.
At the time of the incident, Carrillo lived nearby in the 300 block of Brockhurst Drive, but he said this morning that he has moved to a new home in order to avoid causing the woman any further discomfort.
The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating the case, and a decision on possible charges is expected by Carrillo’s next hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 in Sonoma County Superior Court.
The attorney general’s office is handling the prosecution to avoid a conflict of interest, in part because the Board of Supervisors determines the budget for the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
Carrillo had also been arrested last September on suspicion of battery and disturbing the peace while on a trip to San Diego. The arrest stemmed from a fight outside a nightclub, and Carrillo said afterward that he had been attempting to defend female friends who were being harassed by a man.
No criminal charges were filed in connection with that incident.
Carrilo said of the San Diego incident today, “I still cannot help
but ask myself if I would have handled the situation differently were I sober.”
He said he briefly gave up drinking after the San Diego fight.
“But I did it to show friends that I could—sort of like a New
Year’s resolution,” he said
Carrillo said he is now in an outpatient treatment program offered by Kaiser Permanente. “This is a robust eight-week program designed to address chemical dependency,” he said.
Carrillo said he was never under the influence of alcohol while performing his duties as supervisor, and that his alcoholism “manifested itself in binge drinking.”
“There is no one to blame but myself, and I take full responsibility for my situation. I do hope that people will recognize that I am taking serious steps to conquer what is a serious and sometimes deadly disease,” Carrillo said.
“While my appearance this morning may seem abrupt to my colleagues, once released from residential treatment, I continued my transition to outpatient therapy and received clearance to return to work yesterday. I am ready to get back to work,” he said.
Board members made no comments after Carrillo read his statement.
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