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Harger innocent, his attorney says

SANTA FE, N.M. — The attorney for a former Jemez Springs police chief recently indicted on criminal sexual penetration and other charges says his client is “innocent of these charges.”

Shane Harger was arrested at his home in Edgewood on Thursday on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and extortion, according to State Police.

Attorney Thomas Grover said in a news release to the Journal that the innocence of his client would become clear as the case moves forward.

He also questions the credibility of the victim, because she did not testify before the grand jury panel.

“This is yet another instance where police officers must be forever vigilant when they take people into custody,” Grover said. “Officers need to protect themselves not only from physical attack but also from allegations which, as they did in this matter, occur weeks after the alleged incident.”

The town of Jemez Springs fired Harger in February for “questions of judgment,” but it was not clear if the rape allegations were considered in the decision.

According to State Police, a 19-year-old woman filed a complaint against Harger after he stopped her and three men. She was taken to the police station, where she alleged the rape occurred. State Police say an investigation showed that a sexual act did occur.

Grover said Harger stopped the four subjects because they were suspected of trafficking heroin.