SANTA FE – A Junior ROTC instructor at Santa Fe High School has been charged with a count of criminal sexual contact of a minor after three female students told police that he had touched them inappropriately, made comments about their looks and asked one about what she would do sexually.
An arrest warrant for Dale Mayes, 55, of Rio Rancho, who was referred to by girls interviewed by Santa Fe police as an ROTC “master chief,” was issued Tuesday.
Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman David Carl said Mayes was placed on leave when the accusations arose and that he resigned after the police investigated. The school district has “reported the misconduct to the Public Education Department, and national JROTC certifying authorities,” Carl said.
The district had promptly contacted “the parents of all impacted students” and counselors began discussions with the students, he said.
Mayes couldn’t be reached for comment. But a police affidavit says Mayes gave a school official a statement that said he does return hugs and “gives hugs to his marksmanship girls and boys when the have a bad day of competition for moral support.”
An officer’s arrest warrant affidavit says one of the girls who made accusations against Mayes turned 18 in October — making her no longer a minor — and the inappropriate activity started about then. The other two girls are juveniles whose ages were not disclosed.
In his statement, Mayes maintained that the 18 year-old, at a military ball, grabbed his hand and put it on her behind and he later “told her about her inappropriate behavior,” the affidavit says.
Police were called to the high school in early May. The 18 year old reported that at the beginning of the school year Mayes made “strange comments to her, including, in reference to another student, “Oh look at her butt it looks good today.” Mayes also told the 18-year-old after she gained weight that “your ass is getting fatter,” she said.
She told an officer that since her 18th birthday Mayes had touched her buttocks about four times although she told him to stop and that “she felt what he was doing was weird.” She said Mayes “would just laugh and say that he was joking around.”
Mayes once forced her shoulders forward until she was leaning over a table and asked if she was ready to “receive the flyer,” described as a reference to his belt. When she said this was weird, he said he was joking and asked her to “pinky promise” she wouldn’t tell anyone. In April, he asked to talk to her in a supply room, told her “I owe you one,” then put his right arm over her neck and grabbed her breast, the 18 year old said.
The two juvenile girls came forward later and gave forensic interviews at the Solace Crisis Treatment Center in July. The first interviewed said Mayes “would be really inappropriate” and recalled her commenting on another girl’s buttocks when she wore leggings. She said he once ran his hand across her stomach and lower back in the supply room. The other girl said that on a trip to Alabama Mayes whispered a comment about her buttocks, that he once touched her there in the supply room and that he “would ask her about things she would be willing to do sexually.”