ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque police officer is on suspension after he was arrested, accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty at the Sunport. Investigators say APD officer Johnny Garcia raped a female employee at the Sunport after luring her into a closet.

According to the criminal complaint on February 12th Garcia, who’s stationed at the airport, called the employee into a closet near the baggage area. She told APD investigators Garcia kissed and groped her. She says when she tried to resist — he forced her to perform oral sex on him. 

The Rape Crisis Center says women are often vulnerable to people with power over them. “We do see you know that a lot of times it derives from a power and control standpoint. When we have a point of authority involved with someone who is trying to follow that authority,” explains Veronica Flores, the community education director. 

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Garcia, seen getting an award from the city last summer for helping a woman with car trouble, claims the worker led him to the closet and everything was consensual. 

After she reported the incident to APD in March, a judge granted her a restraining order to keep Garcia away from her.

The rape center says that it can take some time for victims to find the strength to come forward.

“Whenever a survivor does want to come forward and make a report, if that’s the case, the process can be, you know, anywhere between, you know, weeks to months, even years at that point,” said Flores.

APD says he called and texted other Sunport workers trying to discredit and intimidate the woman.

Online court records show Garcia didn’t have to spend any time in jail yesterday after his arrest, he was booked and released right away. 

APD says they launched an internal investigation in March right after the woman came forward and Garcia was put on paid leave at the time. He was suspended without pay starting today. APD declined to do an interview for this story.

According to online court records — Garcia had a DWI back in 2004. He was also taken to court by the mother of his baby back in 2016 and ordered to pay child support.