County reverses decision on hiring

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By David Giuliani

A man who pleaded no contest a few months ago to accepting a bribe was about ready to begin work in the San Miguel County assessor’s office.

However, at the last minute, the county decided against going through with the hiring of Lucas Marquez, 31.

He is a former Mora County sheriff’s deputy who was accused of telling a woman she could either perform a sex act or go to jail while he was at her home for a disturbance call.

On Tuesday, the County Commission approved County Manager Les Montoya’s recommendation to hire Marquez as a mapping research clerk for County Assessor Elaine Estrada. The position pays around $20,000 a year.

When the Optic contacted Estrada on Wednesday morning, she said she wasn’t aware of Marquez’s past. An hour later, she said the county had withdrawn its decision to hire the former deputy.

Montoya said the basis for the withdrawal was that Marquez failed to provide accurate information on his employment application. Marquez hadn’t listed his employment with Mora County, Montoya said.

In May, Marquez entered a plea agreement in which he pleaded no contest to the fourth-degree felony of accepting a bribe by a witness, according to documents filed in state District Court in Las Vegas. The state dismissed a charge of criminal sexual penetration. State District Judge Abigail Aragon sentenced Marquez to up to 18 months of supervised probation.

According to a state police report, on June 18, 2006, Marquez was dispatched to the alleged victim’s house in Guadalupita. The victim later told state police that the deputy gave her a choice of performing a sex act or facing arrest. She said she agreed to the sex act, then preserved evidence later turned over to the state police.

Bennett Bauer, Marquez’s attorney, said earlier this year that his client engaged in a sex act but that the woman instigated it. He also said that Marquez never told the woman he was going to arrest her.

Mora County paid $104,000 in an out-of-court settlement with the woman in 2007. The criminal matter was in the court for nearly two years.