By Darrell Todd Maurina
Accused child molester Harry Robbs hung his head during his initial appearance Monday afternoon before Magistrate Judge Doug Miller upon learning that his bail will be $75,000 cash only.
“Whew,” was his only audible response after hearing the amount of money he would need to get out of the Curry County Adult Detention Center, where he has been held since Friday evening.
Robbs, 40, stands accused of eight counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor under 13. Robbs entered no plea to the charges, said he had no money to pay an attorney, and requested the appointment of a public defender.
When asked his correct address, Robbs said he no longer had an address.
“The last address I have is 700 East 10th Street,” Robbs said. “After I left that address, I moved to Santa Fe and was pretty much living in the streets in my sleeping bag and working at a homeless shelter feeding the homeless.”
Officials with the United States Marshals Service said they arrested him Thursday without incident at the soup kitchen outside St. John’s Church in Santa Fe, and held him in the Sandoval County jail until Friday evening when Clovis officers picked him up.
Robbs’ next court appearance will be Oct. 30 when he appears for his preliminary hearing to decide if enough evidence exists to hold him on the felony charges and bind him over to district court.
Clovis police now have three men and one woman in custody in connection with allegations of sexual assaults against at least 18 girls: Robbs, who had lived for much of the past year with the family of Billy Martin, 49, and Jeanette Martin, 44, at the 10th Street residence, and Anastacio Esquibel, 21, who had occasionally spent time there. The three men face a variety of charges accusing them of sexual contact or sexual acts with 17 preteen girls and one 13-year-old girl; Jeanette Martin faces child abuse charges.
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey said the number of suspected victims has not increased since the initial arrests, but police are still trying to determine who some of the victims were so they can be interviewed.
“We have 18 victims identified, some of them were from the first names only,” Carey said. “We have now gone out and identified most of them and we think we have all the victims.”
Detective Roger Grah said he wants to interview Robbs to see if police should be looking for anymore suspects in the case.
“Until I hear what Robbs had to say I’m not sure if we have everybody or not. He could give us somebody else, we don’t know,” Grah said. “Right now I think we just have to go and continue our interviews with the known suspects.”
Thomas Bauman, enforcement supervisor with the U.S. Marshals Service in Albuquerque, said he assigned four officers to find Robbs, one working on the case full time and three others assisting him. The case was a high priority because of the nature of the charges, Bauman said.
“Based on the information we obtained that he may be a homeless person, we set up pretty much round-the-clock surveillance on places that would be frequented by homeless people,” Bauman said. “About noon (Thursday), we got lucky and spotted him serving soup. Deputies went up to him, identified themselves, and he was arrested without incident.”