ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - He was once an acclaimed firefighter. Now he's an accused of a horrific crime.
Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies arrested Rafael Vigil on Tuesday night at a park near Cibola High School in Albuquerque. He planned to meet what he thought was a 13 year old girl and even described in sexually graphic detail what he wanted to do to the girl, according to court documents. But the girl turned out to be an undercover sheriff's deputy.
Vigil was charged with child solicitation, sexual communication with a child and sexual exploitation of children. He posted a bond Wednesday and was out of jail Thursday.
The 52-year-old worked for the Albuquerque Fire Department from 1985 to 2003 when he retired as a fire inspector. He was also firefighter of the year in 1991. It's unclear why he left before his 20 years were up because the department destroys its old files.
But this wasn't the first time Vigil has been investigated for propositioning underage girls. In 2008 Farmington police caught him chatting with young girls on line. Again, it turned out to be an undercover detective.
Lt. Bruce Holiday with Farmington police said the case still remains under investigation nearly four years after the incident occurred.
"That stuff does take a little bit of time sometimes and in these cases you want to make sure that you do have the person you've identified as the suspect that that's the one behind the keyboard," he said.
Farmington police asked state police in Albuquerque for help tracking down Vigil's address and working on a search warrant because Vigil lived in Albuquerque. State police detectives completed their investigation in September 2011 and turned the case back over to Farmington police. But it sat on Farmington detectives' desks and nobody asked state police to execute the search warrant.
"What you have is detectives that try to make sure they have a solid case so that someone that someone who is accused of a crime like this isn't able to get off when it does go up for prosecution," Holiday said.
While the investigation has dragged on, there's no telling how many girls Vigil may have propositioned online or even met in person since 2008. In court paperwork though, Vigil admitted he's chatted online with kids.
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