A Questa man indicted last week for allegedly molesting one girl and battering another remained in jail on Wednesday (Feb. 6) as newly hired defense attorney Alan Maestas prepares to argue why he …
A Questa man indicted last week for allegedly molesting one girl and battering another remained in jail on Wednesday (Feb. 6) as newly hired defense attorney Alan Maestas prepares to argue why he should be released pending trial.
Raymond Hernandez, 29, had been scheduled to appear for a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 6) in Taos District Court, but the hearing was reset to Feb. 12 after the court learned Hernandez had hired Maestas to represent him.
The local attorney is known for his work on numerous high-profile criminal cases in Taos, including a rape case filed in 2016 against a former Questa High School coach who was charged with raping a teenager. After a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict when that case went to trial in May, Maestas secured a plea deal for the man that allowed him to avoid prison time.
Leading up to next week's hearing, Maestas will have to review evidence that Hernandez may have molested one teenage girl and then battered the young girl's friend during a sleepover at a Peñasco residence early the morning of Jan. 12.
A grand jury indicted Hernandez on charges connected to the case on Jan. 31, including one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor, one count of battery and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
During the hearing, the grand jury relied on testimony from Taos County Sheriff's Detective Marvin Armijo and Sgt. Eugene Holgate, who investigated the allegations in Peñasco last month.
Armijo and Holgate described details gathered from the scene where the crimes allegedly took place. They also relayed hearsay evidence from the victim who was allegedly molested, her mother and the young girl whom Hernandez allegedly battered on Jan. 12.
The 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Taos dismissed the original case filing in Taos Magistrate Court prior to the hearing, partly because such evidence would not be admissible at a preliminary examination, according to Deputy District Attorney Ron Olsen.
An examination by a nurse trained to detect signs of sexual abuse was also ordered, but the results have not yet been detailed in court or made available in court records.
The sheriff's office investigation into Hernandez produced two separate cases in January which have since been dismissed by the state.
The first, filed on Jan. 17, alleged that Hernandez raped a 19-month-old girl the same night he allegedly attacked the two teens.
The second case was filed a week later, on Jan. 24, alleging that Hernandez may have raped a 5-year-old girl at a neighbor's house in Peñasco.
While both of these subsequent cases are no longer active, the charges may be refiled at a future date or presented before a grand jury. The district attorney's office, however, had not indicated as of press time whether they intend to pursue those options.
Hernandez was arrested a total of three times in January on charges related to the three cases. He was released twice on unsecured appearance bonds in magistrate court, but has remained in jail since his third and most recent arrest on Jan. 28 for the alleged rape of the 5-year-old.
The district attorney's office has stated that none of the crimes Hernandez allegedly committed took place after his initial release from jail.
The detention hearing in the molestation case is set for 10:30 a.m. before district court Judge Jeff McElroy.
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