ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) — A Roswell police officer who claims to have spent 75 percent of his day working at Mesa Middle school is accused of trying to lure boys into having sex. He’s now charged with solicitation and was fired immediately.
Someone came forward alleging that the officer, Alonso Barrientos, was having sexual relations with their little brother. That led to an investigation.
On Oct. 23, the day Alonso Barrientos started working at Mesa Middle School, students say the officer started sending sexual messages to male students, sharing and asking for pictures.
The allegations outlined in the court paperwork go on and on.
Students say Barrientos was so new to the school they didn’t even know his name. However, they did know his face and identified him using his Facebook picture of his swearing-in to the Roswell Police Department on Oct. 19.
A teacher also told police she overheard students talking about what the officer had allegedly done.
Officers searched Barrientos phone and found he was active on multiple social media apps, including Grindr, a chat site for gay men.
Barrientos admitted to using the sites and to having sex with other users, but not minors. When officers searched it further, they found a message where Barrientos asked a user’s age, to which they replied, “14.” His response: “you’re young I’m 17.”
When asked if he knew it was inappropriate to have these conversations with minors, Barrientos said “yes.”
People in Roswell were shocked by the arrest.
“An officer is supposed to be someone that’s keeping your children safe especially at a school,” said Roswell resident Hannah Buckaloo.
“I think what RPD should be doing is screening their officers a little more carefully, right? To make sure that they’re not on any of these social media websites soliciting children,” Roswell resident Mike Jimenez said.
Barrientos was a Roswell Police Service Aide for two-and-half-years before he was sworn in as an officer last month. Roswell police say he was still in his probationary period as an officer.
The 25-year-old was booked into the Chaves County Detention Center after being arrested last Friday on two counts of child solicitation by electronic communication device. While there are allegations Barrientos actually had sex with minors, he is not charged with that. Police are not saying why.
Roswell police say there may be more victims. Anyone with information is urged to contact detectives.
Roswell Police Department Chief Philip Smith issued the following statement:
I am disgusted with this recruit’s behavior. I want to assure the Roswell community this criminal act was addressed immediately, the recruit was removed from service and the criminal investigation was initiated. It matters not who the individual is, the Roswell Police Department holds all accountable and those who are employed by the Roswell Police Department are held to the highest levels of accountability. The scales of justice are blind and fair, and the Roswell Police Department’s standard is to always seek fair and unbiased justice as we serve and protect our community.