Rio Rancho Observer, July, 2002

BERNALILLO - A Sandoval County grand jury indicted a former Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety police officer and Sandoval County sheriff deputy on charges of sexual abuse last week. Pete A. Montoya, 50, of Albuquerque, who had worked as a Rio Rancho officer from November, 1985 to August 1995, faces 18 counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of threats or bribery of a witness.

According to documents filed with the court, Montoya’s alleged criminal activities began shortly after he left DPS and took a job with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. From November 1995 to June 2001, the unidentified child’s mother claims Montoya "touched her on places she didn’t like to be touched." In June 2001 the mother went to police with her suspicions, telling officers that the victim’s sister had told her Montoya had sexually abused the youngster. Police said Montoya and the mother of the child had a mutual

restraining order in place at the time, but refused to comment on the relationship between the former law enforcement officer and his alleged victim. They did acknowledge the child was a family member and the criminal contact began while the child was in first grade and had continued for several years. In a statement to police, the victim’s mother said Montoya would treat the girl in a normal manner when in public but would "do things to her in private " The report also alleges that Montoya told those who knew about his action to "keep everything a secret."

Just prior to the filing of the allegations, Montoya left the sheriff’s office and began work at a casino. The Rio Rancho Observer has learned he has kept in contact with some senior members of the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office during the investigation and as late as last month was in contact with at least one member of the agency. During the investigation Montoya told police he had made a mistake and indicated he would seek counseling for his problem, noting he was "not a perverted individual."

During the course of the investigation into the allegation police discovered Montoya had allegedly told the child’s mother that the girl initiated the contact and then admitted his role in an email to the woman. In that email the former police officer said he was sorry for his actions and was seeking to get "God back into his life."

Montoya had been involved in the investigation of several felony crimes during his career, including the suspicious death of John Sherman. The case had initially been ruled a suicide, but evidence in the case was mishandled by Montoya and questions surround his investigation of the scene and his lack of proper procedure in following through on leads. That case is currently under investigation by The Observer and The Unsolved Crimes Network.

Montoya’s work on that case, as well as others, could be called into question if he is convicted of the charges against him. The Observer has submitted a formal request to have the state police reopen the Sherman case. That request has been submitted to Gov. Gary Johnson.