Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas Holds Domestic Abusers Accountable 

But a Silicon Valley tycoon nearly put her Berkeley nonprofit out of business.

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Attorneys for McDonald did not return requests for comment for this report.

According to the DA's office, there was only one incident when police were called to McDonald's home prior to the birthday party, and it was McDonald, not Scott, who made the call. On May 24, 2014, McDonald reported that Scott had a gun but denied that she had pointed it at him or fired it. Scott denies that she ever threatened McDonald with a gun, saying that he had threatened her with it on previous occasions, and during an argument, she grabbed it first, afraid that he would threaten her again.

She ended the relationship for good that December, when McDonald was named a suspect in a sexual assault case. That was the last straw for the 49ers as well. The team cut him, citing "a pattern of poor decision-making." He was later indicted for the sexual assault, but the charges were dropped when the victim refused to testify.

McDonald's teammate, linebacker Ahmad Brooks, was also charged with sexual battery for an incident at the same party involving the same woman. His charges are still pending, and the 49ers kept him on the team until finally cutting him last month. Shortly after that, he signed a $5 million deal with the Green Bay Packers.

After McDonald was released by the 49ers, the Chicago Bears signed him, but then released him after police arrested him again for another incident involving Scott. That time, he violently confronted her in her home in Santa Clara while she had their 2-month-old son in her arms, according to court documents. She recorded the incident on video and obtained a restraining order, which McDonald violated two days later.

Charges are still pending for the restraining order violation, and the case is set to go to trial. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Sept. 18.


In Tagalog, Alipato means "the spark that spreads the fire" or "a small glowing ember that escapes a dying fire."

In addition to fighting the Japanese occupation to liberate the Filipino people during World War II, Luis Taruc fought hard for the liberation of Taruc Canlas's mother. "'When you were little, I wouldn't even let a fly touch your skin, and now this guy hurts you like that?'" Taruc Canlas recalled her great-grandfather said.

She sees each case she takes as the spark that spreads the fire of holding abusers accountable and deterring abusers from misconduct. While most of her litigation targets aren't rich and powerful — one even declared bankruptcy just after she sued him — Taruc Canlas hasn't shied away from taking on challenging cases.

"We take those difficult cases because hopefully one day a jury will side with us and see that domestic violence doesn't have a class. Rich people batter; poor people batter. It also doesn't have an ethnicity or race," she said. "Hopefully, by showing that wealthy people who can get whatever they want also take whatever they want will prove to others that we can hold them accountable and help other victims step forward."


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