Former New Mexico police chief charged with rape

August 8, 2014 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former New Mexico police chief is facing charges that he raped a woman while she was in police custody.

A grand jury indicted fired [auth] Jemez Springs Police Chief Shane Harger on Thursday on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and extortion.

State police arrested Harger at his Edgewood home, authorities said.

According to a complaint filed in January, the 19-year-old woman said she and three men were stopped by Jemez Springs police and Harger raped her while holding her at the police station for three hours.

State police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez said an investigation found a “sexual act did occur.”

Harger’s attorney, Thomas Grover, said the charges stem from a January case when Harger was on duty as a police officer and assisted another officer with a traffic stop involving four subjects suspected of trafficking heroin.

“Harger is innocent of these charges, and that will become abundantly clear as this case moves forward,” Grover said in a statement. “This is yet another instance where police officers must be forever vigilant when they take people into custody.”

Harger was fired in February over what town officials called questionable judgment after Transportation Security Administration agents discovered he has two names. Harger had been detained by TSA agents at Albuquerque International Sunport for having a different name on his boarding pass.

The name on his New Mexico driver’s license is Braxton Haze.

Harger told authorities he changed his name after a 2007 case involving former Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez. Chavez was acquitted of killing his wife, Tera Chavez, and making it look like a suicide in Los Lunas.

Harger said he used to be a deputy in Valencia County and was the first to arrive at the scene the night Tera Chavez was found dead.

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