By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
A registered sex offender in Tucumcari was charged on Monday with criminal sexual penetration of a 13-year-old girl.
Patrick Eugene Otero, 40, was arrested on Saturday and arraigned in Magistrate Court on Monday afternoon where he was charged with eight counts of criminal sexual penetration, eight counts of distribution of a controlled substance to a minor and seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
If convicted of all the charges, Otero’s sentence could add up to more than 275 years in jail.
In a video court appearance, Otero pleaded not guilty. Magistrate Court Judge Edwin Bruhn set his bail at $1 million.
Otero said he would hire his own attorney, but since he had not been able to contact a lawyer, Bruhn gave Otero 10 days to hire an attorney. He also assigned Otero a court-appointed attorney.
The incidents were brought to the attention of Tucumcari police 10 days ago by the victim’s mother, said Police Chief Larry Ham and Detective Jack Hendrickson.
The Quay County Sun does not publish the names of sexual assault victims unless they agree to have their names published.
According to court documents, the girl, who turned 14 earlier this year, and her mother came to the police station and requested a “safe house” interview.
This type of interview involves calling in experts who are trained and experienced in interviewing children.
The girl said she had been having sex with Otero for almost a year. She said they had sexual intercourse on eight different occasions and that Otero had always given her drugs before or after or both.
Hendrickson said Otero was unemployed at the time of his arrest. Both the girl and her mother have sought the help of a professional counselor, he said.
Otero is one of 18 men in Tucumcari and Logan who are registered as sex offenders with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, according to a list on the department’s Web page.
Otero’s listing shows that he was convicted of criminal sexual penetration, a second-degree felony, in July 1998 in San Miguel.