Isleta officer charged in rape of suspect - Albuquerque Journal

Isleta officer charged in rape of suspect

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Leon Martin

An Isleta Police Department officer is accused of raping a woman he had arrested last week on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Leon Martin, 22, was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Saturday and charged with two counts of criminal sexual penetration, false imprisonment, demanding a bribe and violation of ethical principles of public service. Prosecutors have asked for him to be held pending trial.

It is unclear who Martin’s attorney will be.

In a statement, the governor of Isleta Pueblo said leadership was shocked to learn of the allegations of sexual assault. There are 24 officers in the police department.

“The individual is no longer employed by the pueblo, and the Isleta Police Department is cooperating fully with an ongoing investigation of the incident that is being conducted by New Mexico State Police,” Gov. Vernon Abeita said.

On Nov. 24, a 21-year-old woman reported to State Police that she had been arrested by Martin a couple of days earlier. She had reportedly been swerving across the eastbound and westbound lanes of N.M. 47 and then crashed into the guardrail.

The woman told officers that Martin said she could sit in the front seat and didn’t handcuff her, which she had initially thought was because she had a broken wrist in a cast that had been aggravated by the crash. According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, the woman realized that Martin – before the stop – had messaged her on Facebook after she had been in a domestic violence incident – an exchange she thought was odd.

Then, she said, Martin told her he “knew a spot” and parked in an area next to construction equipment where it was dark and no cars were driving by. She said he forced her to have sex.

“(The woman) said Officer Martin told her if they spent a longer amount of time together, she would spend a shorter amount of time in jail and would get to see the judge quicker,” an officer wrote in the complaint. “Officer Martin also told her he would speak to the judge to help her out with the DWI charges. (The woman) stated she did not want to have sex with Officer Martin but felt like she had to.”

Afterward, the woman said, Martin told her not to tell anyone what happened and took her to the Valencia County Detention Center.

When State Police officers spoke with Martin, he told much the same story as the woman but said she had kissed him first and initiated the encounter, according to the complaint.

“He stated it was a lapse in judgment repeatedly saying he had messed up,” the officer wrote.

Immediately after the woman was released from jail, she went to get a sexual assault exam done. On Friday, she received the results showing she had tested positive for chlamydia.

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