Reading volunteer accused of sexual abuse

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man is charged with criminal sexual contact of a minor after investigators say he inappropriately touched a young child while volunteering in an elementary school.

Robert Milne, 66, volunteered with the Albuquerque Reads program from 2012 until late January, when APS says he was removed from the program after the allegations surfaced.

According to a criminal complaint, Milne allegedly touched a 5-year-old boy’s privates underneath a table at Atrisco Elementary School when he was supposed to be tutoring the child in early January.

Sgt. Aaron Williamson with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department says the boy didn’t mention anything to his parents for weeks.

“After several weeks of fighting with their son and trying to get him to disclose why he didn’t want to go to school, he finally said, ‘Because of the stranger that touched me,’ ” Williamson said.

Investigators say that stranger was Milne. According to the criminal complaint, Milne failed a polygraph test exhibiting signs he may have lied when asked if he inappropriately touched the child.

“At this point, we don’t believe there are any other victims,” Williamson said. “We are going to do a thorough investigation just to make sure there aren’t any other victims.”

Albuquerque Reads is a partnership between the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and APS. It pairs volunteers with kindergarten students at four elementary schools – Atrisco, Bel-Air, Lavaland and Wherry.

According to APS, Milne volunteered with the program only at Atrisco Elementary.

APS sent a letter home to parents Wednesday explaining Milne’s involvement in the district. The letter is also available on the schools’ websites.

Until this school year, volunteers with Albuquerque Reads did not have to undergo a background check because volunteers are always supervised. APS says even if Milne had completed a background check, he would have passed.

“There were no red flags and there was nothing in his past that would have prevented him from being a volunteer,” Monica Armenta, the executive director of communications at APS, said.

APS says prior to Milne’s arrest, the district has never had an issue with an Albuquerque Reads volunteer.

The Rotary Club of Albuquerque acknowledged Wednesday that Milne is a Rotarian. He told investigators he also volunteers as a counselor at a Rotary retreat for teens in the Manzano Mountains.

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