Raton cop accused of rape fired


A Raton police officer was fired Tuesday following allegations that he raped a woman earlier this month in an off-duty incident, said John Garcia, chief of the Northern New Mexico department.

Andrew Sanchez, 25, faces a third-degree felony charge of criminal sexual penetration, as well as a petty misdemeanor charge of battery in the case.

Garcia said the Raton department put Sanchez on administrative leave immediately upon learning of the allegations. Sanchez, who joined the agency in the fall, previously worked at the Colfax County Sheriff's Office, the chief said.

According to a statement of probable cause made public Tuesday, a woman called New Mexico State Police and reported that Sanchez had raped her in the early morning hours of Jan. 8 while the two were in a vehicle pulled over on a highway near Lake Alice, a few miles northeast of Raton.

The woman said that she had met Sanchez at his home in Raton that morning, and he was heavily intoxicated. They drove toward Lake Alice together, she said, according to the statement. When they pulled over to the roadside, she told the officer, she agreed to perform a sexual act but then attempted to stop.

Sanchez asked if the two could engage in another sexual act, and she refused, according to Swope's statement. But Sanchez proceeded to rape her, the statement said, while choking and slapping the woman.

The woman told police she eventually was able to kick Sanchez off of her.

Swope wrote in his statement that Sanchez told him he had been drinking the night before the incident and that he remembered having sex with the woman but did not remember any nonconsensual acts.

Sanchez said he had slapped and choked the woman because the two had done that previously in their sexual relationship, Swope's statement said.

The woman denied that.

Attempts to contact Sanchez on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Court records did not name an attorney representing him.

A criminal summons mailed to Sanchez's home ordered him to appear at a Feb. 6 hearing on the charges.