Doña Ana undersheriff disciplined over harassment claims | KOB 4

Doña Ana undersheriff disciplined over harassment claims

J.R. Oppenheim
January 26, 2018 07:07 AM

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Doña County Sheriff Enrique Vigil has stripped his undersheriff of his supervisory responsibilities over sexual harassment allegations.


In a disciplinary action letter dated Thursday, Vigil notified Undersheriff Ken Roberts about the discipline after two women came forward with the claims. Vigil also asked for an investigation by an outside agency or private investigator.

Roberts has been on administrative leave since Nov. 23.

One allegation, as noted in the letter, claims Roberts sat on a female employees lap, shook his buttocks and said he "wanted to try this."

"You admitted to the investigator that you did not recall or remember this incident," Vigil wrote to Roberts. "However, you told the investigator that if this happened that the complainant would not have any reason to lie. Based on this testimony, the investigator determined that these allegations against you were sustained."

An investigation into the second claim found Roberts did not engage in sexual harassment but Roberts' actions were inappropriate and unprofessional, Vigil wrote in the letter.

Roberts will be suspended without pay for 10 days starting Jan. 29, and he will be moved to the Training Academy Facilities. He must also undergo sexual harassment training, he cannot make contact with the accusers, and he must apologize to the women in writing.

Roberts will still help Vigil in non-supervisory administrative duties such making budget purchasing and staffing recommendations. However, Roberts will not handle any of the implementations.

"I believe this action taken is in the best interest of the county and the taxpayers," Vigil said in a statement. "This incident has brought to my attention the need for all management and office staff of the sheriff's department to go through sexual harassment and diversity sensitivity training and I will be directing that management and office staff complete such a training. The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department will not tolerate any form of misconduct by any employee and regardless of rank or title, all are held accountable.


J.R. Oppenheim

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