Former APD officer accused of grooming 13-year-old girl pleads not guilty

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A former Albuquerque police officer accused of starting an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl is saying he’s not guilty.

Investigators say 27-year-old Joshua DeLeon responded to a call about a 13-year-old girl making suicidal threats in February. 

Investigators say DeLeon tried to see the girl 34 times within six days at the beginning of March. They say he stopped by her apartment, bought her candy, told her he had a crush on her, and told her she’d have to keep the relationship a secret.

He offered to have the teen stay the night at his house in early March, and even talked about what they could do at his house — including kissing, and “whatever else the night brings.”

Investigators also say DeLeon committed these crimes while on duty.

The state already filed to keep DeLeon in jail until trial, saying there are no conditions of release that would protect children. Investigators found DeLeon was also social media messaging another 13-year-old.

DeLeon is charged with child solicitation, contributing the delinquency of a minor, and receiving money for service not rendered in connection to staying clocked in when allegedly committing these crimes.

DeLeon is being held in jail for now pending a sex offender risk assessment.