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Calexico cop suspended for alleged affair with teen-ager

April 10, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A Calexico police officer under suspicion of the statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl could face criminal charges this week, according to Calexico City Attorney Michael Rood.

The girl was a volunteer member of the Calexico Police Department's Explorer youth program, according to city sources.

The officer could face criminal charges because an internal investigation by the Calexico Police Department has been turned over to Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero, according to City Manager Richard Inman.

The officer, who has been accused of improper relations with the girl and violating departmental policy, has been suspended with pay for the past week during the internal investigation, according to Rood.

Calexico Police Chief Tommy Tunson said, "We discovered a discrepancy and turned it over to the district attorney for investigation."

Otero said this morning the police officer has not yet been arrested.

The name of the police officer allegedly involved is being withheld by authorities. The name of the minor will not be reported because of her age and concerns for her privacy.

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City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva said he "imagines there will be public concerns" about the integrity of the Police Department and the Explorer program.

"It is our responsibility as councilmen and citizens of Calexico to make sure these things don't occur," Grijalva said.

He said the council will take steps to be familiar with all of the guidelines that govern the Explorer program and other volunteer groups.

City Councilman Frank Montoya said he thinks "99.9 percent of the force is doing an excellent job."

"I don't think the residents of Calexico will lose confidence in their Police Department. You can't judge the police force from just one incident," Montoya said.

Richard Sotelo, president of the Calexico Police Officers Association, said the public will believe what it wants to believe.

"Incidents like this are not widespread, but no one is going to believe it," Sotelo said.

Sotelo said lack of supervision wasn't the reason the alleged incident occurred.

"One or two officers might do something like that, but the supervisors are doing a good job."

Inman said in his 27 years of government service he has never heard of an incident like this.

He called it a "completely isolated incident."

Mayor Victor Carrillo stressed the professionalism with which city officials have handled this case.

"We've taken every step to protect the privacy of the individual accused and the alleged victim," Carrillo said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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