RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A Rio Rancho man accused of raping and molesting a young relative over the past 4 1/2years waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Sandoval County Magistrate Court on Wednesday and will now have his case moved to a higher court.
A preliminary hearing would have allowed a Sandoval County magistrate judge to hear the case of Gabriel Casillas, 48, and determine whether there was probable cause to pursue prosecution. But Casillas waived his right to preliminary hearing and his case will be moved to state District Court.
Casillas is charged with 12 counts of sexual penetration of a minor, six counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of children and other charges.
He is being held at the Sandoval County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.
According to a criminal complaint, the girl’s mother called police in late October after finding her daughter lying under a blanket with Casillas and the girl adjusting her clothing. The mother told police that she also had been abused by Casillas when she was a young girl.
Police spoke with Casillas’ wife, who said she had no knowledge of the abuse.
Casillas later gave a voluntary statement to police and admitted to molesting the girl. He also provided details of the abuse, according to the criminal complaint.
The girl was later interviewed by a police liaison who is trained to speak with child abuse victims. During the interview, the girl said she had been sexually abused by Casillas on a weekly basis at his Rio Rancho home on Baltic Avenue.
She said she would tell Casillas to stop and that she did not like it. The girl said Casillas would take photos of unclothed parts of her body with his camera phone and also show her child pornography, according to the complaint.
Casillas would tell the girl that the incidents were their “secret” and promised her treats such as ice cream to keep the secret, according to the criminal complaint.