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Las Vegas, N.M., police chief resigns less than two weeks on job after sexual abuse claim

October 13, 2018

Las Vegas, N.M., police Chief Jerry Delgado, on the job for less than two weeks, has resigned following a woman’s social media post accusing him of molesting her when she was a child.

It remains unclear, however, if Delgado’s resignation was related to the woman’s allegation.

Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón confirmed Thursday that Delgado, 49, had resigned Wednesday. She wouldn’t comment further.

In his one-sentence resignation letter, addressed to the mayor and City Manager Ann Marie Gallegos, Delgado gave no reason for stepping down. “I regretfully write to inform you that I am resigning my position as Las Vegas City Police Chief, effective immediately,” he said in the letter.

Delgado couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

The woman who accused him of sexually abusing her and threatening her when she was a child — causing her to suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, she said in a Facebook post — did not return messages seeking comment.

The post accusing Delgado of sexual abuse was not publicly visible Thursday on the woman’s Facebook page.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Optic last week, Delgado denied the woman’s story.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation in the Facebook post,” he said. “I don’t know what anybody’s motivation would be to raise this malicious attack on me. The timing is definitely questionable.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 20 years,” Delgado’s statement continued. “I’ve passed two background checks and two polygraph tests. … I’ve passed an integrity test covering more than 200 questions about my background, including every type of crime in the book — every aspect of my life up to that point.

“Had there been any hint of deception or untruth during the background process,” he said, “I would have been removed from the application process.”

The police chief position had been vacant since January. Delgado’s appointment was approved last month by the City Council, but he didn’t step into the job until almost two weeks ago.

Delgado was a state police officer from December 2002 to January 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Even before the Facebook allegation, there were questions about his record.

In 1992, when Delgado was in his early 20s, he was found guilty on a domestic violence charge from the year before.

He also is named as a defendant in a pending lawsuit over a 2016 state police arrest in which an Española woman accused him of keeping her in handcuffs for more than 30 minutes, during which, she said, she experienced a seizure.

The Delgado hire is only the latest controversy for Gurulé-Girón, who was elected in 2016.

She was at the center of a State Auditor’s Office investigation that found problems with the city’s procurement procedures, which critics say were tainted by political favoritism. She’s also a defendant in several lawsuits filed by former city officials, including a former public works director who says the mayor fired him after he refused to award a contract to one of her friends.

In April, City Councilor David Romero filed a complaint with the state saying Gurulé-Girón and others should be investigated for “violation of election law and possible voter fraud” because a large number of absentee ballots were mailed to the home of two of her campaign supporters and the home of her sister.

The mayor denies the allegations.

A spokesman for the state attorney general confirmed Thursday that his office still is investigating the case.

Las Vegas City Councilor Barbara Perea-Casey, a leading critic of Gurulé-Girón’s administration, said she was “very relieved, very happy” when she learned Delgado had resigned.

“I was very concerned about how he would be able to lead the police department with the record he has,” she said. “A police chief has to be someone who is beyond reproach, not only among those in his own department but by the entire community.”

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