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Halfway house employee accused of sexual assaults

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A halfway house employee tasked with looking after low-level federal inmates is accused of sexually assaulting four of them — one of them repeatedly — in incidents dating back to 2012.

Eric Trujillo, 35, was arrested Thursday and charged with five counts of aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of sex abuse of a person in official detention.

The charges stem from a federal Department of Justice investigation, but officials have provided few details about the case. None of the victims have been identified, and it’s unclear when the allegations surfaced and how long the investigation has been going on.

Authorities say Trujillo, who worked at Diersen Charities near Menaul and University, first sexually assaulted a female inmate on June 28, 2012.

According to the seven-count indictment filed against Trujillo, the victim “was at the time physically incapable of declining participation in, and physically incapable of communicating her unwillingness to engage in the sexual act.”

Another inmate alleges Trujillo assaulted her sometime between Aug. 31 and Nov. 30 2012.

“Eric Trujillo did knowingly engage in and attempt to engage in a sexual act with (the victim), who was in official detention, and was under defendant’s custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority,” the indictment reads

Authorities say Trujillo sexually assaulted a third inmate sometime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 2012.

A fourth inmate was sexually assaulted by Trujillo multiple times between Dec. 4 2013 and March 17 2014, according to the indictment.

Authorities say Trujillo sexually assaulted the victim on Dec. 4, 2013, then twice sometime between Dec. 4 and March 17 2014.

He sexually assaulted her a third time sometime in March 2014, according to the indictment.

Spokeswoman for the the state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, Elizabeth Martinez, said Trujillo could face life in prison if convicted of the charges.

Martinez wouldn’t say when the allegations surfaced or why Trujillo was only recently arrested despite allegations dating back years. She said Trujillo no longer works for the halfway house, but said she didn’t know when he stopped working there and whether he was fired or not.

The halfway house is run by Dismas Charities, a Kentucky company that contracts with the federal prison system. Steve Vice, president of business development for Dismas Charities, said he wouldn’t comment on the allegations or Trujillo’s employment status because it’s a “pending investigation.”

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross also said he wouldn’t comment, and referred the Journal back to local authorities.

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