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Victim of multiple sexual assaults sues halfway house, guard

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A woman who says she was sexually abused during her stay at an Albuquerque halfway house filed a lawsuit last month against the organization that runs the house and the guard who admitted assaulting her.

Alicia Wright alleges Eric Trujillo, a monitor or guard at the halfway house, sexually assaulted her and coerced her into sexual activity. Trujillo pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November to 100 months in prison for sexually abusing six female residents.

Although the women in that case are referred to only by their initials, court documents show that Trujillo admitted engaging in or attempting to engage in a sexual act with A.W.

Wright’s lawsuit alleges that Trujillo exercised “substantial power and control” over her life.

She argues in her case that Dismas Charities, which owns and operates the Diersen Charities Halfway House on Menaul near Vassar, “did nothing to protect the women” living at the facility.

The halfway house lacked adequate management and failed to implement policies and guidelines, making it “highly likely that a sexual assault would occur,” according to the lawsuit.

Wright argues that Trujillo would enter the women’s bathroom and shower areas during his evening shifts. Even after one resident complained to Dismas and asked that men not be allowed to enter the women’s shower and dorm areas, “nothing was ever done about it.”

The organization, the lawsuit argues, knew about the sexual assaults “yet failed to notify law enforcement authorities or do anything to stop it.” Dismas negligently hired Trujillo and failed to train and supervise him, the lawsuit alleges.

Another lawsuit containing similar allegations was filed by four women against Dismas Charities, Trujillo and another employee late last year. That case is pending in state District Court.

Wright’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment. Dismas Charities did not respond to a request for comment. It is not clear who is representing Trujillo.

Wright is seeking compensation for Trujillo’s conduct along with punitive damages.