Arrest warrant issued for HU official

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By Martin Salazar

Las Vegas police filed documents in San Miguel County Magistrate Court Monday charging New Mexico Highlands University Associate Athletic Director Gavino Archuleta with several crimes stemming from the Nov. 17 incident in which he allegedly grabbed another athletics department employee’s genitals.

The criminal complaint charges Archuleta, 29, with criminal sexual contact and false imprisonment, both fourth-degree felonies and with three petty misdemeanor counts of battery.

The criminal sexual contact charge is the result of the allegation that he put his hand down the male employee’s pants and grabbed his genitals. The false imprisonment count stems from the allegation that Archuleta prevented that same employee from leaving. Two of the battery counts are related to allegations that Archuleta grabbed the clothed buttocks of that same employee and of another female employee. The third battery count stems from the allegation that Archuleta grabbed the male employee’s clothed genitals.

Archuleta had apparently been drinking at the time. According to the court documents, the male employee used the audio record feature on his cell phone to record part of the incident.

Magistrate Chris Najar issued an arrest warrant for Archuleta on Monday, setting his bond at $20,000 cash. As of the Optic’s press time, the court had not yet been notified that he had been apprehended.

The university placed Archuleta on administrative leave following the incident, and a university spokesman said Tuesday that he remains on administrative leave.

Many of the details about the incident were contained in a police report released to the Optic in November.

The incident allegedly occurred the night of Nov. 16 following a small gathering at Archuleta’s home on the 300 block of Sandoval Street.

The alleged victim reported the incident to police at about 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 17.

During an interview at the police department, he told an officer that he got out of the vehicle to see what Archuleta wanted, and Archuleta asked him to step back into his house.

He told the officer that Archuleta then offered him a shot, and he drank it. The alleged victim said he then tried to make his way back to the front door to leave, but Archuleta was blocking the door preventing him from leaving.

He told the officer that Archuleta then began touching him and that he grabbed his crotch. The alleged victim said he managed to retreat to the bathroom and send a text message to the Athletics Department employee who was waiting for him outside of Archuleta’s house. In the text, he asked the other female employee to come back into the house because Archuleta was touching him.

The male employee told police that as he was trying to get out of the house, Archuleta cornered him, reached down his pants and grabbed his genitals.

He managed to get out of the house and broke into tears.

Court documents filed Monday contain a few new details.

The male employee told police that earlier that night, Archuleta had made inappropriate comments, but the employee didn’t want to say anything because he didn’t want to upset his boss. The employee said Archuleta grabbed his buttocks as he was walking out, but he did not say anything because he feared retaliation at work.

The employee said that when he and the other employee, his girl-friend, got into her car, he told her that Archuleta grabbed him, and she said he had grabbed her buttocks too.

The male employee told the officer that he was very scared because this type of thing had never happened to him before. And he told the officer he felt that if he said anything, he would lose his job at the university.

Archuleta called the male employee several times after the incident. Two of those calls were recorded “with Mr. Archuleta admitting that he should not have touched him like that and apologizing for his actions.”

Archuleta has worked at the university for about six years. He was promoted to associate athletic director in 2008.