Friday, May 27, 2005

Police Chief Plans to Fire Accused Cop

By T.J. Wilham, Journal Staff Writer

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Thursday that he plans to fire an officer accused of raping a 14-year-old girl once the undercover cop is indicted.
That could be done within the next 10 days, Schultz said.
In the meantime, officer Timothy J. Chavez, 33, is on paid administrative leave.
"It is worth the expense to pay him for the time being and have him at home," Schultz said. "We don't want him on any kind of an assignment."
On Thursday, Chavez made his first court appearance and pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnaping and criminal sexual penetration. A July court date was set.
Chavez was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly met a 14-year-old girl a month earlier on a telephone dating service, according to a Metropolitan Court criminal complaint. Chavez allegedly arranged a meeting at the girl's home and raped her on a couch.
Last week, the girl spotted Chavez at a restaurant and identified him as her attacker, and DNA taken from the girl's body matched the officer's, court records show.
Schultz could have placed the 13-year veteran on administrative duty, which would have allowed Chavez to work without being able to exercise police powers.
In the past, when officers have faced criminal charges, the administration has waited for an internal affairs report or for the criminal case to be adjudicated before taking disciplinary action.
Because of the "seriousness" of the allegations against Chavez, Schultz said action should be taken against Chavez once he is indicted. APD officials said it's common to take such action when an officer is accused of a felony.
Schultz also said investigators are trying to determine if Chavez was on duty when the alleged incident occurred.
According to department records, Chavez had taken half the day off. Schultz said he did not know the exact time the alleged rape occurred or when Chavez was off duty.
"This is already bad, but this (if Chavez were on duty) would make it extremely worse," Schultz said. "This is such an egregious violation of trust and of the law."

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