Darcie Green’s new husband bucked convention by taking the county education trustee and State Assembly candidate’s surname, billing the move as a tribute to feminism and his bride’s father. But 35-year-old Rick Alexander Green, a personal trainer known until his November nuptials as Rick Alexander, may have had other reasons for changing his name.
Court records dating back to his divorce at the age of 19 depict the newly minted Mr. Green, né Ricardo Alejandro Monzon, as a batterer of women and serial offender. For the past 17 years, the father of five children by three women has racked up multiple restraining orders and criminal convictions for domestic violence.
Darcie Green, who last year served as president of the Santa Clara County Board of Education, said she knew about her husband’s record and believes he’s a changed man.
“I am a very strong feminist and absolutely stick up for women every day I breathe,” said Green, the 2015 president of Democratic Activists for Women Now. “I wouldn't marry someone who would diminish my ability to do that.”
Since the Greens announced their engagement on a Summer Jazz Fest stage last August, Monzon has branded himself as an ally of feminists. He often accompanies his politically ambitious wife, who is running for East San Jose’s 27th Assembly District seat, to events promoting gender equality. But his violent behavior isn’t as much a thing of the past as many, including Green, seem to have been led to believe.
Monzon was enrolled in batterer intervention classes as recently as 2014, according to probation reports, while a restraining order issued against him by a former partner extends through late 2018. He admitted in a phone interview that he’s unsure how many restraining orders have been filed against him.
In the fall of 2013, one of Monzon’s exes, a South Bay police detective, requested a protective order for herself and her two children. Reporting him was a last resort, she said, but she could “no longer live in fear and under” Monzon’s control.
In July 2011, Monzon and another ex-girlfriend were driving to his parents’ house after a night out drinking. According to police reports, the pair began arguing about his past relationships. Monzon then grabbed her by the hair before tossing her credit cards out the window. When they arrived at Monzon's home the woman began walking away, but he chased her down and struck her in the mouth with his elbow. He reportedly told her, “I can hurt you.”
After a struggle, the woman ran to a nearby house and frantically knocked on the front door, begging for someone to call police. Officers arrived and took photos of her bloodied and swollen lip. Monzon was arrested and convicted of battery, driving with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher and doing so with a suspended license.
The woman filed a restraining order against Monzon over the incident, and she would later tell police that he had a “mafia-like attitude” after the order failed to stop harassing phone calls.
Two years earlier, Monzon ran afoul of the law by violating a restraining order protecting the mother of his two oldest children—his first wife, whom he married in high school and divorced before his 20th birthday amid accusations of spousal abuse.
Records show that family court judges granted his ex-wife’s request for a restraining order when she filed for divorce in 1999 and continued to renew it at least through 2012. Three other criminal cases show up on Monzon’s record from 2005 and 2006, but San Jose Inside could not review them by press time.
“The reality is he’s had a very hard life, a very troubled life,” Green said, adding that she never felt her husband was hiding his past—despite the fact that she was unaware he fathered a fifth child. “He is finally on a path that will have much more success than he's had in the past.”
Monzon told San Jose Inside in two phone interviews he cut short that he didn’t “want to get into specifics,” but that he feels terrible about what he’s done and wants to use his story as an example of how people can change.
“I have made a series of bad choices in my life,” he said. “Unfortunately, I do feel horrible for people who were hurt in those situations. It’s painful to have to re-open these things so publicly. All I can do is just hope that something positive can come out of this. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make right the wrongs I have done.”
Some of the women he has victimized, however, said they think Monzon remains a ticking time bomb. The police detective who dated him for about two years described how things took a turn for the terrifying after a months-long "honeymoon" phase.
The worst abuse, according to the detective's petition for a protective order, happened early one August morning in 2013. In her restraining order, she describes how Monzon erupted when she cut him off as he was telling a story. He allegedly threatened to turn her “entire world upside down” by telling her the police agency she worked for that she knowingly dated a criminal.
“Monzon then ripped my shirt, bra and underwear off my person by force causing pain to the creases of my skin and red marks,” she wrote. “Monzon refused to allow me to get clothes or a blanket to cover myself. Monzon continued yelling and telling me he deserved someone better. Monzon then took my car keys to both vehicles and looked for my firearm (which I do not keep at home)."
Another time, she stated in the same document, Monzon barged in, threw her on her bed and choked her neck for a few seconds while demanding the password to her cellphone.
Monzon's first wife, who asked to withhold her name, said she questions the redemption narrative trotted out by the estranged father of her two children. “We all make mistakes,” she said. “I know I have, and I’ve paid for things I’ve done. But for people to sit there and say that he’s a changed man, a man of honor, they don’t know him like we do.”
Monzon’s 15-year-old son, who was born while his parents were seniors at James Lick High School, said he worries that his father will hurt more women.
“I believe, knowing my dad and all these charges against him, that sooner or later he’s going to do something,” he said. “I don’t think Darcie’s going to be the type of woman to let him get away with it, though. People are watching now.”
Several people in Green’s inner circle expressed concern about her and Monzon’s whirlwind courtship. The engagement came after only several months of dating, seemingly out of the blue, friends said. Meanwhile, Monzon has become a fixture in Green’s assembly campaign.
Green, who has branded herself as one of the more vocal feminist leaders in Santa Clara County, said her husband’s history of violence against women is “irrelevant” to the 27th Assembly District race, which pits her against San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, former city Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, East Side school board trustee Van Le and activist Cong Do.
“I don't want to dismiss anyone who feels wronged by him,” Green said. “This is a story with an arc.”
Green’s campaign manager, Rich Robinson, said he’s confident that his client’s record speaks for itself. Matt Rexroad, a statewide political consultant, agreed that Monzon’s past likely won’t become an election issue.
“Most of the time we give spouses a pass,” Rexroad said. “It could come up, but it’s rare. Anyone who makes it an issue will have to link it to her performance.”
Green served on the Alum Rock Elementary School District before receiving a rocky appointment to the county board of education, which has had its fair share of issues the past couple years. Green was also involved in an embarrassing DUI arrest with Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) in 2012.
Her current relationship has raised questions about how a professed champion of feminism reconciles those values with dating a person recently convicted of hurting women.
Angelica Ramos, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Silicon Valley (NWPC), acknowledged such concerns but noted that Green’s nascent marriage is “not a reflection on her professional record, which speaks for itself.”
Josh Koehn contributed to this report.