Torry Chambers, who is either 38 or 39, is facing six charges of rape of an inmate and two charges of second-degree rape for allegedly using his authority as a corrections officer to coerce inmates into sex or helping another inmate rape fellow inmates.
The county has already paid $925,000 in a settlement reached in July 2012 to three of the inmates.
Inmates came forward in December 2010 alleging that he raped inmates and had helped a friend, a former corrections officer at another New Mexico jail, rape inmates, as well.
Chambers was placed then on unpaid leave, because jail officials expected that he could be fired if he was convicted of criminal allegations.
But union officials filed a grievance, citing a clause in their contract that doesn’t allow for unpaid leave. The county agreed to settle the grievance by allowing Chambers to come back to work on modified duties in 2012. That was the case until September 2013, when a fourth inmate claimed to have been raped by Chambers.
At that time, a jail spokeswoman said, Chambers was placed on paid leave. He hasn’t worked at the jail since then, she said..
Chambers can’t be fired unless convicted or unless jail officials find evidence of Chambers having violated a jail policy, she said.
The spokeswoman said MDC chief Ramon Rustin will meet with legal staff this week to see if Chambers can be fired based on today’s indictment. The indictment “adds a new layer” to an already complicated situation, she said.
“The indictment may or may not change things,” MDC spokeswoman Nataura Powdrell said.
Chambers’ arraignment date in District Court has not yet been set.
Keep with ABQJournal.com for updates.