Former APD officer to remain in jail, for now
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former Albuquerque Police Department officer, 27-year-old Josh DeLeon, appeared by video in front of a judge for the second day in a row Friday.
“He knew what he was doing was wrong,” said Ashley Schweizer, prosecutor.
Prosecutors accuse DeLeon of grooming a 13-year-old girl and trying to start a sexual relationship with her.
“Former officer DeLeon had a duty to protect and serve the community, and in the course of these duties he met a 13-year-old girl who was in crisis,” Schweizer said.
According to court documents, DeLeon first met the teen girl in February. He was called to her home because she was reportedly contemplating suicide.
Prosecutors claim DeLeon started texting the teen, bought her chocolate, and told her he would like to be in a relationship with her.
“He also explains to the victim that they can have a relationship, that she can come spend the night at his house, but that they have to keep it a secret,” Schweizer said.
Prosecutors said the court has no way to keep the community safe.
“The pretrial services cannot prevent the defendant from getting on a phone and doing that again,” Schweizer said.
The defense pushed back.
“Mr. Joshua DeLeon is not a throwaway person,” said John McCall, defense attorney. “The state is characterizing him in that way because they’re just framing him through this pre-crime concept that he’s going to get a hold of a digital device, he’s going to contact somebody, and he’s going to offend again as soon as we let him out. We have no basis for that.”
The defense said DeLeon would be under the supervision of family members and would agree to any conditions the judge set.
“We have a defendant who is willing to follow those orders, to avoid also being a police officer in jail or a former police officer in jail,” McCall said.
Ultimately, Judge Jennifer Wernersbach decided to keep DeLeon in jail, but his attorney told KOB 4 the judge will reconsider the decision once a sex offender risk assessment is complete.