Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Willits Woman Accuses Former Mendocino County Cop of Sexual Coercion and Violence While On Duty 

A photograph of Derek Hendry obtained via public records request from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office

41-year-old Lorna Allen, who called Willits her home for 15 years, has gone public with shocking allegations–accusing a police officer of sexual misconduct. Between 2015 and 2020, Derek Hendry, a former member of multiple Mendocino County law enforcement agencies, allegedly used physical violence, threats of incarceration, and his powers as a police officer to coerce her into multiple sexual encounters, including once in a police vehicle. 

Allen is an admitted ex-addict with a criminal record. She knows that for many her past diminishes her credibility. For that reason, Allen and other women with similar backgrounds were Hendry’s preferred targets, she told us. Hendry knew accusations of misconduct made by addicts would fall on deaf ears. 

“This man has ruined my life,” Allen said. For five years, Allen lived in a pervasive fear imagining Hendry could arrive in his patrol vehicle at any minute threatening violence or jail unless she performed oral sex or intercourse. 

Derek Hendry served in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office from approximately 2010-2018. Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall said Hendry “has not been an employee of the Sheriff’s Office for several years.” While Hendry was employed with MCSO, “I was not aware of any allegations of this nature.”

After he was terminated by MCSO, he worked up the ranks to lieutenant for the Willits Police Department. In April 2022, Hendry was fired by WPD for reasons unknown. By August, he was at the center of a criminal investigation.

Trent James, a former deputy with MCSO and officer with WPD, has used his YouTube channel “Confessions of an Ex-Cop” to address alleged corruption in those agencies. He has multiple videos focused on Hendry’s predatory behaviors. Allen saw one of those videos and reached out to James who persuaded her to report Hendry so he could be held accountable and maybe inspire others to come forward.

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In August 2022, Allen brought forward her experiences to the Willits Police Department directly.  She shared them with Sergeant Stephen Gray, an officer Allen said she admired and called a “good cop”.

In the same month Allen told her story to WPD, we received information that Willits Police Chief Lizarraga had requested the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the criminal investigation to avoid any conflict of interest issues. LCSO’s Major Crimes unit served a search warrant on Hendry’s Ukiah home on August 5, 2022.

Chief Lizarraga told us in a recent conversation that LCSO’s findings warranted being considered for criminal charges and then forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office where District Attorney David Eyster and his legal staff will determine whether formal charges will be filed against Hendry. 

We reached out to the DA’s office for comment and have yet to hear back.

It remains unknown if the criminal investigation centers around Allen’s accusations or includes others. When Allen was being interviewed by LCSO, she told investigators of other women who had fallen victim to Hendry.

Allen is sober now and memories of Derek Hendry’s violence haunt her. She described suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and says she lives in a chronic state of fear. Since speaking openly about her experience to the media, she says she fears Hendry will find her and kill her.

When asked why she did not report his behavior at the time, Allen said Hendry had left her in a fog of fear. She was scared her mother living in Willits could be in danger, that she would end up in jail or hurt, and feared being ignored because of her addiction and lifestyle.

Allen’s admitted addiction and lifestyle at the time of Hendry’s abuses have made it difficult for her to map out a timeline and specific dates are estimates at best. Almost every single occurrence followed a predictable quid pro quo: Allen could avoid violence or jail if she gave into his sexual advances. In every encounter with Hendry, he would be in police uniform.

Allen remembered Hendry threatening to plant an ounce of heroin on her and book her on drug charges if she did not comply. She recalled engaging in sex acts in the back of Hendry’s patrol vehicle while he wore his uniform. Hendry would routinely tell Allen, “Bitch, you’re mine. You’re done when I say you’re done.”

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Attempting to provide Hendry an opportunity to comment on the investigation and Allen’s accusations, we called a phone number associated with him. A woman answered. We asked to speak with Derek Hendry. She asked who was calling and after disclosing who we were and that we were seeking comment, the woman said, “No thank you” and quickly hung up.

Since Allen came forward with her experiences, she told us she receives threatening phone calls from anonymous phone numbers daily. She said an unknown caller recently told her, “Shut your mouth or we’ll shut it for you.” When she tried to call these numbers back, an automated voice told her it was a non-working number. 

Allen is worried knowing the District Attorney is now weighing whether to prosecute Hendry. She joined protestors outside the Mendocino County Courthouse in the days before a “sweetheart” plea deal was handed down to Kevin Murray, a disgraced Ukiah Police Sergeant accused of sexual assault of multiple women. After Murray ended up with a year of probation, Allen says she is afraid Hendry will also get off easy.

Allen told us that going public with her experience was a way to show she was “no longer a victim. I am a survivor.” Her anxiety is a constant companion and she fears that her past will lead the world to perceive her accusations as fabrications. “Just because I did drugs and went to jail, doesn’t mean I’m a liar,” she said.

Allen received information yesterday afternoon that reminded her of why she needed to tell her story. Since NBC’s Bay Area affiliate broke her story, the station had received multiple calls from others victimized by Hendry. Hearing this news, Allen simply said, “That’s why it was important to tell my story.”

We must note that Derek Hendry has not been publicly charged or tried for the accusations levied by Allen. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence,  Hendry should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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  1. I 100% believe her! I moved to willits at age 28 (17yrs ago) & the name, Derek Hendry, came up quite a bit when I made friends & engaged with people in conversation. It was common knowledge that he was a shady cop. He would regularly assault, pick the type, & make false arrests & rob & steal from people in his community. A man, paid by our tax dollars, to serve & protect us was the source of terror for many. So let’s see what mendocino county does here. The recent track record of being transparent & protecting its community from its own protectors & the lack of accountability has been embarrassing & appalling!

    • Yes we have trouble, right here in River City. The same lack of attention by our DA (and others) paid to these bad actors is also displayed by our Attorney General and Governor. Very disillusioning that such things are allowed to go on. Frustrating and troubling, as well, and rightly so. I think some of our elected officials will find in the future it has a damaging effect on their careers.

  2. Matt,

    Who is Miller?

    Quote from paragraph 16:
    “Attempting to provide Hendry an opportunity to comment on the investigation and Miller’s accusations, “…

    • Dirty tweaker? Hmmm it seams to me that you are very ignorant. People who are recovering substance abusers are no longer in that mold. They are actively seeking help and are abstaining from substances. They take the steps to change everything about themselves so as not to be a piece of shit anymore. They pay taxes too. So anyone who can go through this kind of trauma on top of anything and everything else is a miracle in my eyes. So keep on talking down on things that you haven’t experienced. Keep your ignorance going because we all know that ignorance is bliss right?

      • I applaud LCSO for investigating this crooked cop, but I hope their investigation is thorough and not a sham one Like Mendocino County’s DA has done and will surely continue to do to protect violent cops.

    • A liar? Hmm…. says the support of the dirty cop. She’s one of many women he crossed the line with. What about Jenna Long when she was just 16? He ruined her life and pretended he was in love with her and coerced her to do bad things. Or what about the nurses that he sexually harassed? Or the female chief that he verbally assaulted and made so uncomfortable that she quit. All because she was taking inventory of the evidence room keys.????? Just food for thought.

      • 100% she is a liar. Disgusting what she is trying to do. Has nothing do with supporting cops, and everything to do with being against someone trying to cash in on a lie and trying to destroy someones life. Also…Coerced Jenna to do bad things? Are you serious? Are we talking about the same people? You are on an entirely different planet my friend.

  3. I know that there are a lot of cops in Madison county I know that a lot of things that have gone on in this area are very very wrong I also know both Derrick Henry and Lauren Allen and to say that she’s lying is an understatement she obsessively whenever we would see him when we hung out together we would see Derek and his patrol car at the gas station or wherever you know would be walking like to the casino or to a friend’s house or whatever we did cuz we were homeless drug addictive me and her thank God that’s it anyway she’s lying she would freak out and be like all excited like watching a kid with a 14 year old with a crush on a boy at school chase him down and be like yeah yeah talk to him and just it was in truth the exact opposite of what that video with her and that news station tell you he ruins your life and why did you chase him down all the time all excited like a little kid with butterflies on her stomach also if this whole thing is so like below you then why are you out using yourself as a paid prostitute like what the f*** I’m not saying that Derek is innocent of everything they have accused him of I don’t know I don’t know I have no evidence to say that he is or isn’t but I have evidence of her behavior and the fact that she’s a known liar and it’s like watching an 11-year-old tell you a story that’s completely fabricated to watch that to me cuz I know her Derek on the other hand I know Derek and I know that he is one of the reasons that I’m sober today one of the driving reasons you know main reasons and two was disgusted by her from jump Street like he was creeped out by the fact that she would do that so I don’t know what she’s going on about but I do know that mark my words there’s going to be a lawsuit from her against the city of Willis if not the county of Mendocino because he was employed here at the time that her accusations occurred using social media to get rich quick scheme please people don’t let the tweaker be smarter than you are and yes she still on drugs if you knew her you would know that okay that’s my opinion take it or leave it I’m not sorry

    • Samantha Ramsey weren’t you involved with Derek hendry? My cousin said that you were the one meeting up with Derek and having relations with him. Oh and that you were ripping off every person you knew and getting into trouble for criminal things and not really getting into “trouble”. My cousin also said that it was common knowledge that you would claim that you were his “side piece” and that as long as you were around nobody would get into trouble. I think that your favorable attitude towards the officer in question is in fact questionable. It wasn’t that long ago that you were actively using drugs and committing crime. And this woman hasn’t sued the county or otherwise so why is it that you claim it was a get rich scheme? YOU are the Pot calling the kettle black. Lmfao you act as if you are mad that your “boyfriend ” is finally getting into trouble. Lol

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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