NM United release player accused of sexual misconduct

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico United player is officially off the team. Years ago Manny Padilla’s college said he violated their sexual misconduct policy, but the team didn’t learn about that until last week.

Manny Padilla was suspended by United as soon as they became aware of an online petition claiming that he was part of a, “toxic sexual environment” on the University of San Francisco men’s soccer team. Those allegations against Padilla did not show up in his background check.

“It pointed out potential holes in our recruitment process and we’re going to work diligently as a front office and technical team to review those processes and to see if there’s something to do in the future that could inform us of things like this,” said Jessica Campbell, the Director of Public Relations with NM United.

Officials with United said they couldn’t give out too many details about their investigation. However, they said the University of San Francisco did publicly confirm that Padilla was the subject of a Title IX investigation.

According to the San Francisco Examiner Padilla was accused of, “forcing himself” onto a female student and “groping her inside a dormitory room.” The examiner reports the university found Padilla did violate the university’s sexual misconduct policy in 2015. According to the Examiner, despite those findings, Padilla’s soccer career was not affected at the time. He was recruited to New Mexico United four years later.

KRQE News 13 spoke with the president of the New Mexico Curse, which is the official supporter’s group of United. He said he agrees with the team’s decision.  

“It doesn’t matter who the perpetrator is regardless whether or not they’re a soccer player or a rock star or a teacher or whatever their occupation is,” said David Carl with NM Curse. “If somebody does something that awful, then they should face consequences.”    

Officials with the team said all the United players go through a thorough background check. However, the Examiner reports, USF’s policy does not require them to inform teams of sexual misconduct cases unless, “the former student legally consents or there is a valid subpoena.”

United plans on working to improve the process moving forward. KRQE News 13 did reach out to Padilla for comment but did not hear back.

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