A long way to fall 

On June 22 last year, Brigit Dollar, 26, of Fort Smith told police that Ron Fields had raped her. The investigation that followed would include a videotaped physical exam and repeated questioning of Dollar, interviews with her relatives, searches of her phone and computer records, lab tests of underwear and a bedspread in her home — and an extraordinary measure of political caution. Fields, the suspect, was never interviewed.

“If he had been a janitor,” one of the investigators reportedly told a relative, “he would have been arrested the next day.” But Fields was no janitor.

A product of Fort Smith public schools, he'd enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17, served as a rifleman in Vietnam, and returned in 1969 with three presidential citations. By 1975 he'd graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he'd befriended classmate Asa Hutchinson, and gotten to know future Gov. Bill Clinton, who was then on the school's faculty.

Fields himself quickly gained standing in the politics of western Arkansas, beginning as a deputy prosecuting attorney. In 1978, he was elected prosecuting attorney for the 12th Judicial District, which included Fort Smith, the state's second-largest city. He held that post for the next 18 years, establishing himself as one of the state's toughest prosecutors. By 1995, Fields could boast that he'd sent more criminals to Arkansas's Death Row than any other state prosecutor and that Sebastian County, home to Fort Smith, had sent more than twice the number of felons to the penitentiary, per capita, than the state's average.

Fields was considered so tough on crime that when Steve Clark was forced to resign as Arkansas's attorney general in 1990, Gov. Bill Clinton appointed him to serve the remainder of Clark's term.

Fields' friend, Asa Hutchinson, meanwhile, had enjoyed an even more meteoric rise. After a brief stint as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Hutchinson was elected to Congress, where he gained fame as the prosecutor at President Bill Clinton's impeachment. In 2001, President George Bush appointed Hutchinson head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. At that point, the two friends' career paths merged once again, when Hutchinson brought Fields to Washington to serve as one of his two senior assistants.

In 2003, Hutchinson moved from DEA to the Department of Homeland Security, where he served as undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security. Fields changed agencies too and continued to work for Hutchinson, this time as a special assistant in DHS's office of Customs and Border Protection.

Since 2005, however, Fields had been back in Arkansas, where he'd returned to the practice of law. And now he stood accused of rape, though, on June 28, when he called Officer James Adam Holland to discuss businesses concerning some of his clients, he was unaware that Dollar had spoken with police.

According to Holland's report, he answered Fields' questions and then took the opportunity to inform the former prosecutor of the allegation made against him. Holland noted: “He asked if it was Brigit and I said yes. The next thing said, after a short pause, was by him. Mr. Fields said, ‘There is nothing illegal there. She is 25 or 26.' ”

Holland was well aware of Dollar's age. He also knew that she stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighed 128 pounds, that her IQ had been tested at between 59 and 64, and that doctors said her emotional age was about that of a 10- to 12-year-old. He knew that Brigit Dollar had made it through school in special education classes, could not drive a car or handle money, had never held a job, received Social Security Disability benefits, and still lived with her mother, Claire Borengasser, who was the new prosecuting attorney for the city of Fort Smith — and the ex-wife of Ron Fields.



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