APD aviation officer charged with rape - Albuquerque Journal

APD aviation officer charged with rape

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Johnny Garcia (MDC)

An Albuquerque Police officer in the aviation division has been charged with rape and put on unpaid leave after an airport security guard reported that he forced her to perform a sex act on him while he was on duty and in uniform earlier this year.

Johnny Garcia, 38, was booked into jail and then released Thursday night.

Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman, said an internal investigation is ongoing.

“We are not able to comment on the details of the case, except to say the department took the victim’s allegations very seriously,” Atkins wrote in a statement. “Our sex crimes sergeant conducted the criminal investigation and worked with the District Attorney’s Office to determine charges.”

Atkins said Garcia had been with the department since October 2016 when the aviation unit moved from the airport to being under APD. She said he was put on administrative leave when the investigation began in March.

Garcia’s attorney declined to comment.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, the security guard told investigators she had met Garcia in December after he got her personal phone number from a supervisor and called to tell her he found the ID badge she had lost. She said he insisted on returning it to her apartment and she eventually agreed to meet him in the parking lot.

After that Garcia would talk with her at work, call her and imply he was interested in a relationship. She said in January she got in his personal car and he drove her off the airport grounds to a parking lot where they talked and kissed consensually during her break.

The woman told investigators that Garcia didn’t talk or text her for a number of weeks after that. Plus, she said she had concerns “because of the rumors of him with other women, and the fact he was twice her age” although he told her he was not married and didn’t have children.

Then in February, the woman said she had just left work around 2 p.m. when Garcia – still on duty – began to talk to her as she walked out near the baggage claim. According to the complaint, the woman said Garcia opened a closet door, using his security key, and called her into the room.

Once inside, Garcia began to “forcibly kiss” the woman, put his hand in her pants and although she tried to leave and said “no” he forced her to perform a sex act on him, according to the complaint. She said he intimidated her and she did not feel as though she could resist.

Garcia then left her in the dark closet to respond to a call for service, according to the complaint. Investigators found surveillance videos that they say show the woman leave the closet and appear to be disoriented and upset. She messaged a friend about what had just happened and said she felt “horrible” and did not want to be judged.

When Garcia was interviewed he said he had not had a relationship with the security guard and he didn’t know her very well. He said she was the “aggressor” and “instigator” that day and led him into the closet. But he didn’t want to talk about what happened next except to say it was consensual.

Garcia said he is married and “was not supposed to be doing that kind of thing with other women.” According to the complaint there had been a previous incident in 2019 where Garcia was “dating” a female clerk at the airport who was also seeing another officer.

The complaint states that “there was a conflict between the three parties” but does not provide any other information. Atkins said she does not have additional details about that incident at this time.

While the investigation into the reported sexual assault was ongoing, investigators say Garcia repeatedly called the security guard’s co-workers, supervisors and other officers “in an attempt to discredit and intimidate” her.

The complaint states he called two of her co-workers from a blocked number, and when “the security guards answered the calls, officer Johnny Garcia was agitated, accusatory and even started to cry when they refused to participate in his efforts to discredit (the woman).”

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