Service for sexual assault vicitims coming to Quay County

Thomas Garcia

A special service to assist in the investigation of sexual assaults in Quay County was introduced Tuesday to area law enforcement agencies by a representative of the state’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

The Satellite SANE Unit is a service that will soon be provided in Quay County by the SANE of Eastern New Mexico, said Amber Hamilton, SANE administrator.

“The goal of the SANE Unit is to provide prompt examinations of sexual assault victims in Quay County,” Hamilton said. “The nurses that conduct these examinations will have the proper certification required by state law. They will be up-to-date on the ever-changing medical and forensic standards and science of responding to sexual assault cases.”

“There is a low conviction rate in Quay County for sexual crimes because many of the victims did not want to make the trip to Clovis,” said Ann Largent, counselor, Quay County Maternal Child and Community Health Council. With the program available locally, Largent said, victims will feel more inclined to have the examination and the conviction rate could increase.

Ralph Dowden, assistant district attorney in Quay County, said that the SANE program is very important to communities.

“This will help the victims to see that we take these types of crimes very seriously,” Dowden said. “The district attorney’s office will stand by them sending a message to those sexual offenders that what they have done is against the law and we will prosecute.” Roosevelt County law enforcement officials have been using the SANE program and Sheriff Darren Hooker spoke about its benefits.

“The SANE program is a huge asset to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. We have used the SANE program in several investigations that resulted in a conviction,” Hooker said.

The availability of trained and professional personnel to follow through the entire legal process of a sexual assault case is invaluable, Hooker said. “It is a tremendous benefit to have an organization like SANE, who’s resources and training are top-notch.”

In addition to law enforcement officials from Roosevelt County, officers from the Tucumcari Police Department, Logan Police Department, Quay County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police attended the introduction to the SANE service.