Former police officer, security guard accused of sexual assault avoid jail time

James Watters and Jessie Terrazas
James Watters and Jessie Terrazas

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former police officer and former court security officer accused of sexually assaulting a young woman will face no jail time.

Milan Police Officer at the time, James Watters and former court security guard in Cibola County, Jessie Terrazas said it was all consensual. The young woman said it wasn’t.

“Within 12 hours of our investigation, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents obtained enough evidence to arrest both of the suspects,” said Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo with State Police.

According to a criminal complaint, Watters and Terrazas, along with a Grants Police Sergeant, picked up the 20-year-old victim from her home in December 2014. She told investigators they gave her booze.

After taking the Grants officer home, the victim said Terrazas sexually assaulted her and Watters raped her at the Grants New Mexico State University campus.

“The plea agreement isn’t something that we’re happy with but based on the evidence and our ability to build a case with these facts, we believe it was the best resolution that we could present to the court,” said Dustin O’Brien, Chief Deputy District Attorney for San Juan County.

According to O’Brien, Watters pleaded guilty to giving alcohol to a minor and attempted false imprisonment Monday morning.

He was sentenced to probation for 2.5 years. But a judge ruled that with good behavior, it won’t stay on his record.

“Jessie Terrazas pleaded guilty to selling or giving alcohol to minors,” said O’Brien.

Terrazas was sentenced to probation for 18 months. But because of a previous felony, the conviction will stay on his record.

“The victim was okay with the plea agreement,” said O’Brien.

The District Attorney’s Office said the plea deal was also in part to protect the victim from having to go through a trial.

Watters’ attorney said the plea deal was just and fair.

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