Three female detainees accuse jailer of sex crimes

By Ryan Lengerich

TUCUMCARI — A Quay County Juvenile Detention Center officer was arrested Monday and charged with sex-related crimes against three juvenile detainees, police said.
Robert Gonzales, 27, of Tucumcari was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, court documents show.
The girls’ ages were not disclosed.
The charges follow a four-month investigation that began when New Mexico State Police received a complaint from an alleged victim’s stepfather who said his stepdaughter had been sexually assaulted at the detention center.
A state police officer then interviewed the girl and Gonzales before turning the case over to criminal investigator Dina Orozco of Clovis.
Orozco said her investigation began with a check of the alleged victim’s background, which did not indicate a pattern of lying or past false allegations. Orozco also said she has interviewed more than 25 former and current detainees from surrounding areas since September.
According to court records:

n One of the juveniles returned to the detention center from a Portales court on July 9, when she said Gonzales was the only officer on duty. Gonzales, the girl alleges, then asked her to “flash him,” and made several sexual requests. Tired of Gonzales’ requests, the girl allowed him to make sexual advances.
n Another female told authorities that Gonzales made sexual advances toward her on Aug. 28. A third female told authorities he made several sexual requests while she was detained from Dec. 10 to Dec. 15, 2002.
Gonzales has been an officer with the juvenile detention center for 15 months. Lt. Don Rich of the Quay County Detention Center said he would not comment on the situation due to the pending investigation.
Rich said he was aware of the four-month investigation and assisted those involved with all requests.
Gonzales is being held at the Quay County Detention Center on $60,000 bond.