Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Tucumcari man given 18 months of probation

 

June 3, 2020



Editor's note: Some of the information in this article is sexually explicit.

A Tucumcari man was given 18 months of probation Wednesday and must undergo sex-offender supervision and counseling after pleading guilty in district court to a felony charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual penetration with a 15-year-old boy.

Daniel Gallegos, 26, was arrested in December after being accused of having sexual contact with the teen last summer after exchanging flirtatious texts with him. The charge, a fourth-degree felony, could have resulted up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

District Judge Albert Mitchell Jr. also ordered Gallegos, who was present in the courtroom by videoconference, to give $100 to the Quay County Domestic Violence Program, pay a $100 fee to the New Mexico Department of Corrections and submit a DNA sample for the state’s database, according to online court documents. He also would be registered as a sex offender for 10 years.

Gallegos was ordered not to have any contact with the victim. Mitchell ordered him to notify his church and one of his employers, the Knights of Columbus, about his conviction.

Mitchell said he received 27 letters of support for Gallegos. His attorney, Roger Bargas of Tucumcari, said the victim and Gallegos’ mother requested Gallegos go through some sort of appropriate counseling.

“There is some discussion he knew it was wrong but didn’t fully understand what is going on,” Bargas said of his client, who he said had no previous criminal record except for a speeding ticket.

Bargas also said Gallegos’ act with the boy “was not a predatory action,” and the child “was not pressured into this, nor was he forced. … The child made the arrangements.”

Bargas was not immediately available for comment at his office Monday.

According to an affidavit filed in the investigation by Tucumcari police detective Reyes Gonzales, the officer received a cybertip via Facebook from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that stated Gallegos and the 15-year-old boy appeared to have discussed meeting to engage in sexual activity between June 17 and July 8, 2019, and that the boy give Gallegos his address.

Gallegos sent texts to the boy, knowing he was underage, that asked whether he had sex, masturbated or watched pornography, according to texts Gonzales obtained. The boy gave his grandmother’s address and talked about meeting.

Gonzales contacted the boy and his mother and asked him what had happened between him and Gallegos. He admitted Gallegos messaged him on Facebook and “became aggressive toward him,” but he initially denied anything happened between them, according to the affidavit.

When Gonzales confronted the boy with the Facebook messages, the boy looked surprised. He said Gallegos on June 17 forced him into a sex act in his vehicle in the countryside. The boy said he asked Gallegos to stop.

Gonzales interviewed Gallegos at the police station. Gallegos said he didn’t know the boy was underage, and he said the boy said he was 18 several times. When read some of the Facebook messages, Gallegos said he recognized them and acknowledged he received oral sex from the victim in his car. Gallegos told the officer he found out about the boy’s true age a few days later.

Gonzales stated in his affidavit he believed Gallegos knew the boy was 15 when he participated in oral sex with him.

 
 

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