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Calexico cop, teen wed before felony charges were filed

April 11, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Before being charged with two felonies, the Calexico police officer under suspicion of statutory rape of a 16-year-old Police Department volunteer drove to Yuma with the girl and her mother and married the teen.

According to Yuma County records, the officer, Patrick K. Estrada, 24, was married to the girl March 31 with the mother's consent.

In Arizona, a 16-year-old can be married if accompanied by a parent and if the parent signs an official release form.

On April 12, District Attorney Gilbert Otero approved a criminal complaint against Estrada from a report by the Calexico Police Department.


Approval of that complaint means Estrada is charged in Imperial County Superior Court with one count of statutory rape and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object.

The girl had been involved with the Calexico Police Department youth Explorers program

Calexico Police Chief Tommy Tunson said Estrada has been suspended from the force and will be paid during the suspension.

He said anything that happens in the future with the Estrada case will be handled by the district attorney.

Otero said Estrada could turn himself in later this week or early next week.

Debra Owen, lead prosecutor on the case, says the DA's office has been in contact with Estrada's lawyer and prosecutors expect his lawyer to set up a time in the near future when Estrada will turn himself in and be arraigned.

If he turns himself in and attends the arraignment, Estrada would plead to the charges and would be released on his own recognizance, according to Owen.

If he does not turn himself in a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Owen said this morning Estrada is not considered a flight risk.

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

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