National Guard member charged with having inappropriate relationship with teen

Crime

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A former security guard at Espanola Middle School is facing eight charges for having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student. Court documents say the relationship between the security guard and the student began when the girl was in eighth grade.


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“It’s been going on for a few years now,” said 1st Judicial District, Deputy District Attorney, Haley Murphy. “It’s a sad and scary case.”

The District Attorney’s Office says a concerned party reported the suspected relationship to authorities. An investigator with the DA’s Office questioned the victim’s mom who confirmed that her daughter was in a relationship with Chantell Gallegos, a former security guard at Carlos F. Vigil Middle School.

The mom told investigators Gallegos was 22 and her daughter was 14 when the relationship began. The report says Gallegos would pull the victim out of class on a regular basis, and a cell phone warrant showed the two had exchanged more than 4,600 pages of text messages, some of them sexually explicit.

The victim even told investigators that she lived with Gallegos and her mom for seven months. Gallegos who is also a member of the New Mexico National Guard, worked for the district for a little more than a year starting in August 2018. She was deployed to Kuwait in August 2020.

“I do believe she was set to return next month from deployment,” said Murphy. “The National Guard has been made aware of the case.”

KRQE News 13 reached out to the New Mexico National Guard to find out if they’d be expediting Gallegos’ return, or taking any kind of disciplinary action against Gallegos, they say they have been made aware of the charges and they’re working on getting her back to New Mexico. The DA’s Office says if convicted on all eight charges, Gallegos could face up to 12 years behind bars and register as a sex offender.

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