Litany of Sexual Abuses From New Mexico Jail

     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) — A former jail guard awaiting trial on sexual assault charges in New Mexico also faces a civil lawsuit from a woman who says he raped her in a courthouse holding cell.
     Aubrianna Sanchez sued her alleged rapist, Enock Arvizo, and Bernalillo County, which she says kept him on the job despite a history of years of sexual misconduct.
     In her Thursday complaint in Federal Court, Sanchez says Enock forced her to perform fellatio on him and then raped her while she was handcuffed and shackled at the Second Judicial Courthouse in Albuquerque. It happened on March 24, 2015, as Sanchez awaited a hearing on a parole violation, she says.
     Sanchez says she was afraid to report the sexual assault for more than two weeks, but finally described it to an attorney, in search of legal advice.
     “As it turns out, defendant Arvizo had raped or sexually assaulted at least four (4) other women who were being detained at MDC on at least seven (7) different occasions during the period from April 2014 to April 2015,” she says in the complaint. “Most of these incidents occurred at the Second Judicial District Court, in a fashion shockingly similar to defendant Arvizo’s rape of plaintiff.”
     According to the complaint, Arvizo had a sexual relationship from November 2007 until April 2008, with an inmate on conditional release, and when his supervisors learned it, on April 1, they ordered him not to see the inmate again. “Nonetheless, defendant Arvizo cornered the inmate outside her Alcoholics Anonymous meeting later the same night and had sex with her in his car one last time,” the complaint states.
     On May 1, 2008, Arvizo admitted to his bosses the he “had sex multiple times” with the woman, “but denied any knowledge that she was on CCP [conditional release] or wore an ankle bracelet during all their sexual encounters,” 10 weeks later he was placed on paid leave, according to the complaint.
     Though the deputy chief of the jail said Arvizo “was untruthful” and recommended he be fired, Arvizo returned to work on Sept. 24, 2008, the complaint states. Nonetheless, the termination process continued, and Arvizo resigned on June 5, 2009 after failing a polygraph test and the county sent him a termination letter, Sanchez says.
     Nonetheless, the board rescinded his termination, let him return to work in November 2009 with only a 15-day unpaid suspension he could work off over four pay periods “to minimize its financial impact.” He was fully restored to his job by Dec. 3, 2009, with back pay “for the time during which he had been ‘terminated,'” according to the lawsuit.
     Arvizo became a transport officer in June 2013, and by December 2014, his supervisor, defendant Lt. Conrad Armijo “discovered that defendant Arvizo and another transport officer had been exchanging phone numbers with female inmates for the purpose of meeting up for sex after the inmates were released,” the complaint states.
     But all Armijo did, Sanchez says, was tell Arvizo and the other officer that they could no longer drive female inmates by themselves.
     Nonetheless, the complaint continues, “Arvizo continued to transport female inmates without supervision throughout the spring of 2015 … which consequently placed him in the position to rape, sodomize, and assault multiple inmates, including plaintiff.” Sanchez blames the final defendant, Sgt. Reyna McCann, for failing to enforce Armijo’s order.
     Arvizo was arrested in April 2015 and is facing four criminal trials on 11 charges of sexual assault.
     The complaint adds that that three other corrections officers besides Arvizo have been arrested and charged with criminal sexual penetration against inmates since 2014.
     Sanchez seeks punitive damages for battery, cruel and unusual punishment, supervisory negligence and municipal liability.
     She is represented by Adam Baker in Santa Fe.

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