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APD: Bragg accused of attempted rape

Carlton Bragg puts up the shot for two points in the first half of a December game in the Pit. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police have released an incident report detailing the investigation into allegations against Carlton Bragg, a 6-foot-10 senior forward for the UNM Lobos men’s basketball team who has been cleared to return to the court for Tuesday night’s game in the Pit after serving a three-game suspension.

It reveals that Bragg, now 24, was investigated for attempted rape. Bragg has not responded to a request for comment from the Journal and UNM has not made him available to talk to media. He told police when questioned that “nothing inappropriate happened.”

The Albuquerque Police Department’s records staff initially told the Journal they could not find the report when it was requested last week, but an APD spokesman released it Monday.

Both Bragg’s name as the suspect and the victim’s name are mostly – although not entirely – redacted throughout the report. However, enough of the details of the allegation can be read to understand that on Nov. 5, a 20-year-old woman reported that after an evening of drinking and partying on Aug. 10, 2019, Bragg allegedly held her down on a bed, kept kissing her and tried to unbutton her pants multiple times throughout the night.

According to the report, the woman told investigators she “was in fear that Carlton was going to rape her.”

Bragg, when interviewed by police on Dec. 5, said the woman came on to him that night because “he was a tall basketball player” and that it was “not the first time,” according to the report.

As part of the investigation, police took into evidence several videos the woman recorded on her phone on the night in question – video that police reviewed and handed over to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.

Bragg has not been charged with a crime and UNM on Friday said that after a review of the case, it feels confident in reinstating him.

A second Lobo basketball player – J.J. Caldwell – remains suspended after an allegation of violence with an ex-girlfriend at Lobo Village on Dec. 14. Caldwell has not been charged with a crime, either.

UNM will not comment on why it decided to reinstate Bragg. It has said it was not made aware of the incident until Dec. 19 when it was told of the allegations against both Caldwell and Bragg.

The police report indicates witnesses in the Bragg case, including at least one athlete from another UNM Lobo team, were interviewed by police in late November and early December. The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department sex crimes unit before being forwarded to the DA’s Office for possible prosecution for attempted criminal sexual penetration.

On Friday, the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office sent the review of both cases out of its office in Albuquerque to the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Alamogordo. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez’s wife, Nasha Torrez, is the Dean of Students at UNM and handles all student discipline matters. Last week, she was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Caldwell against UNM, claiming the school violated his right to due process.

According to the incident report on Bragg released Monday, the woman visited the Family Advocacy Center on Nov. 5, 2019, to report an attempted rape.

She said that almost three months earlier – on Aug. 10 – she had gone to the Salt Yard bar with her friend, her friend’s boyfriend (Bragg) and another friend. She said she doesn’t usually drink, but that night she had two shots of tequila before they went out.

After the Salt Yard closed, the group went to an after party and continued to drink. At some point, they decided the woman would sleep at Bragg’s girlfriend’s apartment and Bragg’s girlfriend would sleep at another apartment in the same complex.

The woman said she was lying on her friend’s bed, looking at her phone, when (name redacted) arrived at the apartment and let himself in. She said (redacted) placed all of his weight on her back and “reached around to the front of her pants trying to get to her button. He began kissing her neck and playing with her hair.”

She said she told him to stop, and that she was seeing one of his Lobo basketball teammates, and he was dating her friend.

She said that he stopped and he told her that it would not happen again.

But later on, she said he returned to the apartment, “pushed her on the bed and tried to take off her pants six times throughout the night. He wouldn’t allow her to get up off the bed and held her down with his body weight.”

The reports describes audio and video taken by the woman. In the video, Bragg appears to be trying to kiss the woman more than once and she is heard telling him to stop.

At one point, Bragg appears to be standing over the woman and telling her he is not really in a relationship when a knock can be heard on the door and a female asks: “Are you good? What’s going on in there?” The woman responds: “Nothing. Are you good? We will talk in the morning.”

The report also indicates that after initially talking with police on the phone, Bragg asked to meet with an officer in person, but then did not show up for the in-person interview.

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