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Lawsuit, Whistleblower Allege Rape by Guards at New Mexico Prison

A lawsuit filed in May 2012, alleging sexual abuse at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility (CNMCF) in Los Lunas, compelled a retired prison guard to come forward and blow the whistle on several other officers, including one already accused of raping a prisoner.

The retired guard, whose identity was withheld by New Mexico TV station KOB Channel 4, called CNMCF captain Kenneth Carrejo a “pervert” who “liked to get the inmates one-on-one back in the infirmary.”

“That’s all he’s ever been,” the whistleblower said. “I would tell that to his face.”

A lawsuit against Carrejo alleged that he handcuffed a male prisoner to furniture in an office and raped him. Carrejo also allegedly threatened to kill the prisoner if he reported the abuse. According to the suit, CNMCF warden Anthony Romero called in the state police to investigate and interview the victim; at least one of the state police officers who responded was Carrejo’s brother.

“Obviously had we known that he was this guy’s brother, we wouldn’t have sent him because of the big conflict of interest there,” said State Police Lt. Robert McDonald.

According to the whistleblower interviewed by KOB, several guards at CNMCF forced prisoners to have sex with them. One prisoner in O-unit was allegedly “gang-banged” by guards, “who thought nothing to allow other inmates to gang-bang him” as well.

The retired guard also said he was confident that wardens and other top-level prison officials at the facility knew of the rapes and sexual abuse, “...unless they were deaf, dumb and stupid and blind.”

KOB reported that attempts to interview New Mexico corrections department officials and a former warden at CNMCF were unsuccessful, and information released by the department was vague and evasive.

The lawsuit against Carrejo, filed by prisoner Kenneth Morgan, claimed that Carrejo had orally and anally raped him and that he had saved DNA evidence from the sexual assaults. The case settled in December 2013; citing state law, the New Mexico Risk Management Division declined to provide the amount of the settlement. See: Morgan v. Carrejo, U.S.D.C. (D. N.M.), Case No. 1:12-cv-00583-KG-LAM.

Carrejo, who retired in 2011, was indicted in August 2012 in Valencia County district court on four counts of criminal sexual penetration. He has proclaimed his innocence and is scheduled to go to trial in February 2014.

“We will seek justice in all criminal matters that come to our attention, regardless of whether the perpetrator is an inmate, offender, or staff member,” said Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel.

Marcantel cleared Warden Romero following an internal investigation, finding he did not obstruct or interfere with an investigation into sexual abuse at CNMCF. “I would consider him exonerated,” Commissioner Marcantel stated.


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