SANTA FE (KRQE) - A former state cop, named in a lawsuit claiming he sexually assaulted a DWI suspect and is under investigation by the state, was hired by another police department.
Police Chief Raymond Rael confirmed Wednesday that former state police officer Carlos Salazar is working with the Santa Fe Police Department. Rael said he's only been with the department for about a month.
It's a hire that has the police chief back-pedaling and ordering his investigators to look further into Officer Salazar's past - even though he's already on the force.
"Had I known the extent of the situation and the referral to the academy I probably would not have extended the offer of hire," Rael said.
Salazar was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman he arrested for DWI in 2010 in the bathroom of State Police Headquarters in Albuquerque. In the lawsuit the woman claims Salazar exposed himself, touched her breasts and even asked for sexual favors.
Rael said he knew about the investigation however he didn't know all the details.
"I had no clue of the depth of the allegations," Rael said.
Salazar was suspended this summer and then later quit. However, state police said the District Attorney's Office did not charge him because of a lack of evidence.
Still, there is a lawsuit against Salazar that Rael said he didn't hear about until recently. He added its something he should have known.
"My background investigators are certainly supposed to, yes," Rael said.
If they had looked into the lawsuit the chief may have heard recorded phone calls from Salazar to the woman he arrested for DWI.
"This is Carlos Salazar, calling you from state police in Albuquerque," Salazar said.
In the phone calls Salazar is offering to get rid of the DWI charges.
"I'm going to see if i can help you out, to see if we can get it dismissed," Salazar said. "You and I kind of hit it off that night and I felt bad for you and I just want to help you."
Salazar also told the woman not to tell anybody that he talked to her about the DWI case.
Salazar sent KRQE News 13 the following statement:
"I absolutely did not do what that woman claims. That was proven through a polygraph I took and an investigation. I did make a mistake by dismissing her case and was disciplined for that. I learned from that mistake and am just trying to move on with my career."
Rick Sandoval, the woman's attorney believes the dismissal and phone calls alone are unethical and should have cost him his career.
He said just listening to the recorded telephone conversations he believes it is clear something inappropriate happened in the station that night.
"What did he mean by that," Sandoval said. "He thought they hit it off great when she was under arrest and intoxicated allegedly. "
Rael said he learned that the Law Enforcement Academy Board is investigating Salazar after he hired him. He did not know the specifics of that investigation.
The LEA Director did not get back to KRQE Wednesday.
We learned the Santa Fe police officer who reviewed Salazar's background has now moved on to a job with state police.
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