Former Sandoval County corporal charged in ‘Peeping Tom’ case

Surveillance video of an accused peeping tom in Rio Rancho
Surveillance video of an accused peeping tom in Rio Rancho

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – In July, surveillance cameras on a Rio Rancho home clearly caught a man tiptoeing around a side yard and peering into the bedroom window of a 16-year-old girl.

“Probably two months the kids slept in on the sofa,” Brad Cressin said. “As a dad, it’s not right to see your kids not wanting to go in their room.”

Now, the public is learning what many of the neighbors knew all along.

Rio Rancho police say the man in the video is Ventura Salas.

“I know that he was previously fired for having child pornography,” neighbor Marie Avila said.

According to court records, Ventura Salas was a Corporal for the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office until 2012. Then, he was placed on administrative leave following two accusations involving underage girls.

Sandoval County Lieutenant Keith Elder says Salas no longer works for the SCSO. However, he could not go into details, saying it is a personnel matter.

According to an incident report, Salas was accused of with having more than 700 sexual pictures of girls under 18 on his department-owned laptop.

Months before, he was accused of criminal sexual contact of a 9-year-old girl.

“He reached over and touched her hand, and then using her hand touched himself inappropriately,” said Rio Rancho Police Sergeant Nick Onken.

Court records show Salas’ first peeping charge was in 2007. Then, he was caught peeping into the window of a then 23-year-old woman.

The 2007 charge was dismissed in Rio Rancho Municipal Court. It appears, no charges ever came of the incidents in 2012. In his most recent charge, he is facing a petty misdemeanor.

“I’m sad. I mean, lot people are angry in the neighborhood and they would like to see him prosecuted. There’s a part of me that would like to see that, but I really think the person needs help,” Brad Cressin said.

Captain Ron Vigil with the Rio Rancho Police Department says this situation did not fit the requirements to charge Salas with a felony.

Neighbors say Salas and his family moved away from the neighborhood after the surveillance video surfaced in July.

Salas still lives in Rio Rancho and is scheduled to be arraigned at the end of December.

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