NMMI AD accused of groping woman at Virginia event

Updated: 07/28/2014 6:21 PM | Created: 07/28/2014 5:59 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

He’s a longtime, well-respected New Mexico athletic director who is just more than a month away from retirement.

But he could be spending part of that retirement in an orange jumpsuit.

Reggie Franklin, a respected figure at New Mexico Military Institute’s campus is charged with sexual battery.

The veteran basketball coach and athletic director has worked there for more than 24 years.

But the wife of another NMMI alumnus says Franklin groped her during a dinner party in Virginia in February.

She claimed the two sat together at the same table, and that’s when she says Franklin began asking if he could flirt with her.

According to the report, the questions got even more sexual.

She says Franklin asked if she had any naked pictures online. And then, he allegedly rubbed his hand down her leg, spanked her and grabbed her behind.

"She cried the whole way home, it's an hour long drive," said the victim’s husband Chookeat Jarvis.

Jarvis says his wife is not the only victim. "This is not a decision we took lightly,” said Jarvis. “But when my wife mentioned what happened at the event, another alum said the same thing happened to her a few years ago. And after seeing my wife's reaction on the way home, we decided we were going to file."

Franklin’s attorney Phoenix Harris says he is innocent.

"So these are very serious, very damaging allegations and we look forward to the truth coming out in court," said Harris. "Really has had a great career, he has zero criminal record and has never engaged in any type of criminal activity in his life before."

Harris says Franklin flew back to Virginia on July 1 to turn himself in to police.

Turns out the day he turned himself in, is the day NMMI hired a new athletic director.

Franklin bonded out of a Virginia jail and flew back to New Mexico, where the ordeal is far from over.

According to a NMMI spokesperson, Franklin is currently transitioning into retirement and will be officially retired within the next 45 days.

The trial is November 14. If convicted, Franklin faces a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

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