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Former Jemez Springs chief indicted on rape charges

SANTA FE, N.M. — Former Jemez Springs police chief Shane Harger – fired by the town in February for “questions of judgment” – has been indicted on criminal sexual penetration and other charges, according to the New Mexico State Police.

A 19-year-old woman filed a complaint in January after she and three men were stopped by police in Jemez Springs. The woman was taken from the car to the police station for three hours, which is when the rape allegedly occurred, according to State Police.

State Police investigated and “over the course of the investigation it was determined that a sexual act did occur with the 19-year-old victim,” police spokesman Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said.

The case was forwarded to the Sandoval County District Attorney’s Office, and a grand jury indicted Harger on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and extortion on Thursday.

He was arrested at his home in Edgewood on Thursday, Gutierrez said.

He said he didn’t know why the traffic stop was made, or what exactly the woman alleged Harger did to her.

“These charges are pretty serious, so obviously something explicit did occur,” Gutierrez said.

In January, Harger was questioned by federal Transportation Security Administration agents after his name didn’t match his boarding pass, and his county law enforcement commission was later revoked. He was fired by the town of Jemez Springs in February, not directly because of that incident, but because of information gathered afterward, according to the town.

“It just started to build that there were a whole series of issues that were disconcerting and raising questions of judgment,” Mayor Edmond Temple said at the time.

Gutierrez said he didn’t know if the rape allegations had anything to do with his firing.

Temple or other village officials weren’t reached Thursday.