Former APD officer accused of grooming 13-year-old girl

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former APD officer is in jail, accused of grooming a thirteen-year-old girl and trying to start a sexual relationship with her. 

Josh DeLeon, who is 27, was an officer when he met the teen while responding to two calls when she attempted suicide in February.

The teen stayed in the hospital for about a week after the second attempt. Investigators say DeLeon started texting her when she was in the hospital, asking if she was OK, but she didn’t answer.

She answered when she got out of the hospital, saying she was OK, and appreciated his help. 

In the days after that, 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 say he went to the teen’s apartment on March 9 and tried to kiss her, but she blocked her face. That’s when she told investigators he started “being aggressive” and she told her cousins about the messages.

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 thirteen-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.

APD Chief Harold Medina provided the following statement:

These allegations portray a police officer who engaged in a predatory effort to lure a 13-year-old girl into a secret relationship with him. This kind of behavior is beyond disturbing, and it is a disservice to the department and our profession. I am disgusted by the fact that an officer would prey on a child who was experiencing a crisis and relied on him for help during that crisis.

We relieved the officer from duty and immediately started a criminal investigation when we learned of the allegations. I appreciate the detectives who worked on this troubling case, and the Attorney General’s Office for moving forward with the prosecution.

While this case is adjudicated in the courts, we will change APD policies to make it clear we will not tolerate inappropriate contact between officers and citizens they encounter during calls for service.