Albuquerque police officer allegedly tried to coerce 13-year-old into relationship. He's since resigned and been charged. - Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police officer allegedly tried to coerce 13-year-old into relationship. He’s since resigned and been charged.

Joshua DeLeon, a former Albuquerque police officer (MDC)

An Albuquerque police officer allegedly tried to strike up a romantic relationship with a 13-year-old in March — inviting her to sleep over and trying to kiss her — after initially responding to her house when she was contemplating suicide on two separate occasions.

Officer Joshua DeLeon, 27, was placed on administrative leave from the department on March 9 and then resigned after the allegations surfaced.

On Friday he was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on charges of child solicitation by electronic device and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

DeLeon is also charged with receiving public money for services not rendered after meeting the girl at her apartment on multiple occasions while in uniform and on duty.

DeLeon reportedly told investigators he thought the girl was 14 but he had developed “a crush” on the teen, identified in court records as D.L., and considered her more than a friend.

When police searched DeLeon’s patrol vehicle they found an unopened package of condoms, according to court records. When they searched his SnapChat account, they found an inappropriate chat with a separate “self-proclaimed 13-year-old girl.”

It is unclear if DeLeon has an attorney.

Prosecutors have filed a motion to detain DeLeon until trial, calling him a “danger to young female children in our community” who has “shown that he has a sexual interest in vulnerable girls.” In the motion prosecutors said the SnapChat messages between DeLeon and a separate teen are still being reviewed.

“However, this indicates that D.L. may not be (DeLeon’s) only victim,” the motion states.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said in a statement, “this kind of behavior is beyond disturbing, and it is a disservice to the department and our profession.”

Medina continued: “I am disgusted by the fact that an officer would prey on a child who was experiencing a crisis, and relied on him for help during that crisis,” adding that the department immediately relieved DeLeon of duty and opened a criminal investigation.

“While this case is adjudicated in the courts, we will change APD policies to make it clear we will not tolerate inappropriate contact between officers and citizens they encounter during calls for service,” Medina said.

On March 9 police learned the teen reported DeLeon “being inappropriate with her,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The girl told police she was scared as DeLeon had become aggressive when she wouldn’t kiss him.

Police said DeLeon first met the girl on Feb. 8 when he responded to her residence after she threatened suicide due to bullying at school. Then, on Feb. 14, he responded to the girl’s home again when she threatened suicide with a knife.

The girl was taken to a hospital and treated for the next several days after that incident, according to the complaint. DeLeon began texting her on Feb. 25 asking if she was “doing okay.”

Police said the pair began talking over the next few weeks, with DeLeon at first offering to “cruise by” to check on her — offering to bring snacks and candy. He then offered to take her on a ride-along and would “buy you anything you want.”

On March 3 DeLeon visited the teen at her apartment for the first time, texting her that she was “very cute and adorable” afterward, according to the complaint. On March 5 DeLeon texted that they go to a movie together and “this might be bad… but I think I like you.”

Police said the teen texted that she was inexperienced being in a relationship and DeLeon replied, “I can teach you” and “we can keep it a secret.”

“I don’t think people would be okay with us dating,” DeLeon texted the teen, according to the complaint. “Because you’re much younger and I’m much older lol.”

Police said the teen asked “is that bad?” and DeLeon replied “Technically yes.. lol.” DeLeon then reportedly told the girl she should “come stay the night sometime.”

When the teen asked what they would do, DeLeon replied, “well we can seehow the night goes and just take it from there,” according to the complaint. Then DeLeon said they could “watch movies, play games, kiss, whatever else the night brings.”

DeLeon deleted the messages between the two on his phone but records showed they texted each other 250 times in two weeks.

Police said surveillance video in the teen’s apartment caught DeLeon meeting with the girl after midnight on March 9, while on duty and in uniform. Video reportedly shows DeLeon hug the teen before they move out of view and he allegedly tried to kiss her.

The teen told police she covered her face with a folder to stop DeLeon from kissing her and he got “frustrated,” according to the complaint. He texted her “that was mean lol” and she replied “how was it rude” and DeLeon texted “Because lol I was hoping for a yes.”

Police said the teen told them DeLeon “should have been there to help and protect her.”

When police interviewed DeLeon he initially told them he was doing a welfare check on the girl and denied trying to kiss her, according to the complaint. DeLeon said he invited the girl to stay over to “give her options where she would have a sense of peace.”

Police said DeLeon acknowledged it “was not appropriate” and then told police he had developed a crush on the teen, felt they were more than friends, asked her for photos and sent her photos — including one of him on his bed.

A detective asked DeLeon “you fell for her?” and he replied “unfortunately so,” according to court records.

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