Former NM police chief faces rape charges

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A man who used to run a New Mexico police department is now facing charges that he raped a woman who was in his custody.

New Mexico state police arrested former Jemez Springs police chief Shane Harger Thursday.

Investigators say they’ve been looking at the case since January, just a month before Harger was fired from his position with Jemez Springs police.

News 13’s cameras were rolling as Harger was walked by state police officers to their Albuquerque office on Thursday afternoon, shortly after he was taken into custody in Edgewood.

When asked Thursday if he had anything to say about what happened, Harger did not respond and kept his head down as officers walked him away in cuffs.

Harger is charged with kidnapping, two counts of rape and extortion.

State Police say Harger pulled over a car in early January while he was still the Jemez Springs police chief. Police aren’t saying why the car was pulled over, but News 13 has learned that police found heroin inside of the car.

According to state police, another officer took three men inside the car into custody and two of them were charged. Meanwhile, Harger took the woman alone.

A Sandoval County grand jury indicted Harger Thursday. The paperwork says Harger illegally detained the woman, then touched the woman’s private parts and raped her. State Police say the woman was released three hours later after she was taken into custody and was not charged.

The indictment says Harger then threatened the woman with charges if she told anyone about it.

This isn’t the first time Harger has been in the news for his questionable behavior.

Harger got in a heated argument with TSA and Albuquerque Police at the Albuquerque Sunport in late January when he was trying to get past security screening with identification cards that had two different names.

The incident was caught on camera and happened after the alleged rape. It ended with Harger appearing irritated. Meanwhile, a security agent was heard saying “You know, in my opinion, he’s a poor excuse for police chief.”

Harger was fired by Jemez Springs Village Council in February, but at the time they wouldn’t say why.

New Mexico state police pulled Harger over Thursday in Edgewood and arrested him.

“It can give all of law enforcement a bad name when something like this happens… and nobody that takes this job serious and wants to do a good job appreciates this kind of behavior from anybody wearing a uniform,” said Sgt. Damyan Brown of the New Mexico State Police Department.

State police say Harger was taken into custody without any problems. He’s now awaiting a court date in the Sandoval County Detention Center.

Harger’s attorney issued a statement Thursday to address the charges:

“Mr. Harger is innocent of these charges and that will be proven as this case moves forward. This is yet another instance where police officers must be forever vigilant when they take people into custody. The fact that the alleged victim in this case did not testify before the grand jury panel is telling about her own credibility.”

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