April 27, 2022

Jamie Patton
(415) 302-1179 

Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox calls for Attorney General Rob Bonta to Investigate Sex Crimes Case with Ties to a Church led by District Attorney’s Husband

District Attorney Diana Becton failed to disclose her conflict of interest and defend a victim in a sex crime case that involves a former employee at a Church where her husband Alvin Bernstine serves as a Pastor.

MARTINEZ, CA– Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox is calling for California Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate District Attorney Diana Becton for her failure to disclose and manage a clear conflict of interest in a sex crimes case involving a church employee that her husband leads as Pastor. 

“District Attorney Diana Becton faced a clear conflict of interest and put her and her husband’s own interests above her duty to defend a 14-year-old girl who was victimized in our community,” said Mary Knox, candidate for Contra Costa County District Attorney, “Becton’s unethical involvement in the case demonstrates her continuing failure to recuse herself from criminal cases in which she has a personal interest in the outcome. Her actions and this case should be thoroughly investigated by the California Attorney General immediately so that the victim and her family can finally seek the justice they deserve.”

Jesse Armstrong, a former Youth Choir Director at Bethlehem Mission Baptist Church of Richmond was hired and managed by Pastor Alvin Bernstine, the Husband of Contra Costa DA Diana Becton. Armstrong was hired despite the fact that a simple background check would reveal his history of sexual abuse of multiple minors in a church setting. Armstrong is currently in prison serving a sentence of 2 years and eight months in connection with his sexual abuse of the girl. 



Lawyers for Sex Crimes Victim calls for State Probe of Case Connected to DA Becton’s husband, SF Chronicle, crimes-victim-call-for-state-17129563.php, April 26, 2022

 Mary Knox Bio: 

Mary Knox has dedicated her life to making Contra Costa County safer. For more than 37 years, Mary has served as an experienced prosecutor and advocate for crime victims. As a lead prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, Mary has won high profile cases against some of the most notorious criminals in Contra Costa County history. She worked to dismantle the criminal gangs who have preyed upon our most disadvantaged communities, and she has engaged in meaningful violence reduction by instituting effective strategies to reduce crime and prosecute violent criminals. To discourage freeway shootings, she secured $3.5 million for freeway security cameras. She brought in $3.5 million in federal funding to combat sex trafficking. And, after recent smash and grab robberies, Mary developed a three-point plan to hold organized crime syndicates accountable and prevent future crimes.

Born and raised in Walnut Creek, Mary was in the first freshman class at Northgate High School. She went to college at UCLA and then Pepperdine Law School. During law school, Mary worked as a law clerk in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in the Sexual Assault Unit and in a second clerkship in the Juvenile Unit. Once Mary graduated from law school, she came home and has worked as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s for the past 37 years while raising her son, Darien, as a single mother. 

Key Endorsements (for a complete list visit 

  • California Correctional Peace Officers Association
  • Contra Costa District Attorney Investigators Association
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff, David Livingston 
  • Mitchell Celaya III, Calistoga Police Chief
  • John Moore, Retired Pleasant Hill Police Chief
  • Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association 
  • El Cerrito Police Officer Association
  • Hercules Police Officer Association
  • Martinez Police Officer Association
  • Oakley Police Officer Association
  • Pinole Police Officer Association
  • Pittsburg Police Officer Association
  • Pleasant Hill Police Officer Association
  • San Ramon Police Officer Association
  • Antioch Police Officer Association
  • BART Police Officer Association
  • Brentwood Police Officer Association
  • Richmond Police Officer Association
  • San Pablo Police Employees’ Association
  • Clayton Police Officer Association
  • Concord Police Officer Association
  • East Bay Regional Parks Police Officer Association  
  • Walnut Creek Police Association   
  • National Latino Police Officer Association – Contra Costa County NLPOA Advocacy Chapter
  • Central Coast Gang Investigators Association 
  • Police Officer Research Association of California (PORAC)
  • California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA)
  • California Correctional Peace Officers Association
  • Tom Holt, Former Police Lieutenant from the Contra Costa Community College District
  • Crime Victims United

Paid for by Mary Knox for Contra Costa District Attorney 2022
FPPC# 1439290

Help Mary

Paid for by Mary Knox for Contra Costa District Attorney 2022
FPPC# 1439290

Help Mary

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