T or C officer's wedding to 15-year-old raises eyebrows
Posted in the Las Cruces Forum
#1 Jun 25, 2012
From the AP:
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCE - The sexual relationship between a 29-year-old former city police officer and a 15-year-old girl, now a married couple, is now the subject of a New Mexico state police investigation and a special prosecutor.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that former Truth of Consequences police officer Noah Pestak could face a statutory rape charge after he married the pregnant teenager last month.
Three judges, including Pestak's father, Magistrate Thomas Pestak, also are under investigation in connection for their role in approving the marriage.
Noah Pestak resigned from the southern New Mexico police department a week following his marriage ceremony.
However, a special prosecutor in Las Cruces assigned to the case will have to navigate through conflicting state laws. That's because one state law criminalizes an adult's sexual relations with a minor under the age of 16.
Another law permits the marriage of a girl under 16 if she is pregnant.
Still, Sierra County Sheriff Joe Baca, for whom Noah Pestak previously worked, is outspoken in saying that Pestak should be charged, the marriage to the teenager notwithstanding. The girl's father said he believes the pair met when Noah Pestak made an on-duty stop of a car in which the teen was riding.
"It's not like he met this girl and she lied about her age. He (Pestak) picked up this little girl," Baca said. "If this was anybody else, he'd already be in jail. Because he's a former police officer and a judge's son is the only reason he's free right now."
Baca said three judges with knowledge of the situation, including Pestak's father, should resign or be sanctioned, and the sheriff has filed a complaint against all three with the state Judicial Standards Commission.
The other judges involved were District Court Judge Kevin Sweazea, who approved the issuance of a marriage license following a court session, and Municipal Judge Beatrice Sanders, who performed the marriage ceremony. So far, the three judges have been tight-lipped about the matter, in part due to the ongoing State Police investigation.
The girl's father, Chester Hamilton, said he was initially enraged by the situation and reported it to State Police.
Hamilton, however, said he now believes it is in the best interests of his daughter, and the unborn child, to drop the criminal investigation and allow Noah Pestak to support the new family.
"Right now, I think they should leave him (Noah Pestak) alone. He's doing what he should be doing," Hamilton said. "Yeah, what he done was wrong, by all means, but, you know, any other way, my daughter would be a teenage mom on welfare, and he (Noah) is trying to see to it that that doesn't happen."
Hamilton said neither Noah Pestak nor his daughter wanted to address the media. He said they are not living with him, and he was unsure if they had their own residence or were living with Noah Pestak's father.
T or C.
Where things never seem to change.
When the police pull you over in T or C and tell you that you have a "pretty mouth" be afraid, be very afraid!!!!
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