FARMINGTON — A Farmington police sergeant is accused of raping a Farmington woman.
Chief Kyle Westall restricted Sgt. Kent O’Donnell to administrative duties after O’Donnell reported to his superiors Sept. 18 that he was under a criminal investigation looking into the rape charges.
The allegations of sexual assault surfaced Sept. 17 after the alleged victim filed an emergency restraining order against O’Donnell.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office immediately opened an investigation, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Beth Utley said.
In the temporary restraining order filed Sept. 19, the woman claims the sexual assault occurred Aug. 27 in her Farmington residence.
“I am terrified of retaliation by him,” the woman wrote in response to her decision not to inform O’Donnell that she was filing the restraining order. “He is a police officer whom I trusted. He has weapons and is trained as a Marine, SWAT and tactical expert. He spoke of people that he has killed.”
She requested that O’Donnell “not contact or harass me, not have agents contact or harass me for him, not contact or harass my family and not have agents do it for him,” according to the order.
He is prohibited from going within 100 yards of the woman, or her home.
No criminal charges have been filed and Sheriff’s detectives anticipate the investigation to take one to two months, Utley said.
Investigators are in the process of retrieving phone records from the parties.
“We look forward to the sheriff department’s thorough investigation,” said Steve Murphy, O’Donnell’s attorney. “The fact that this lady reported that he raped her some three weeks after the alleged incident speaks volumes.”
The Sheriff’s Office likely will forward the findings from the investigation to the District Attorney’s Office for review before charges, if any, are filed.
“Our office will ask a District Attorney’s office from another part of the state to determine what, if any, charges are appropriate,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Because the local District Attorney’s Office has pending cases where O’Donnell is, or could be, a witness, there is a conflict of interest to review the case, O’Brien said.
The Farmington Police Department also opened an internal investigation Sept. 19, Westall said.
In the meantime, O’Donnell, who typically works in patrol, is restricted to desk duty.
He was required to turn in his department-issued firearm while the investigation is under way, Westall said.
Westall, in response to questions regarding why O’Donnell was placed on administrative duty compared to paid leave, said the criminal investigation is based only on allegations and “everything is pending.”
Distributed by MCT Information Services