Police Comment on Allegations Against Officer
POSTED: Friday, November 5, 2010 - 5:38pm
UPDATED: Sunday, November 7, 2010 - 7:03pm
Mark Munoz is accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Tonight, the police department is explaining in detail its position on the issue.
"We received the complaint and the report in early November, actually November 2nd, in 2009," said police spokesman Darrel Petry. "That was taken and turned over to the district attorney's office in March of 2010."
Five months - that's how long it took for police to present the sexual assault case to the district attorney.
The alleged victim, we'll call her Anne for the purposes of our story, says a year ago, on Halloween night, police officer Munoz sexually assaulted her when she was unconscious.
Only yesterday, Munoz's lawyer pleaded "not guilty" on his behalf but offered no further comment. Today we asked Petry if it is common for a case to take five months to hand over to the district attorney's office.
"Sometimes it could take longer, sometimes it could be shorter," he said. "It's an investigation, it's an evolving thing."
The El Paso Police Department's special investigations group handled the investigation. Anne says investigators found half-digested pills inside her car, as well as urine on her dress. To this day, she still doesn't know if the urine was her own. She also says a rape kit was administered, but again, she still doesn't know the results. We asked Petry why the investigation was not handed over to a separate agency, when the accused is one of their own.
"This is the way we do it, there's two separate entities involved, you've got the police department, you've got the district attorney's office."
Anne told us a toxicology test was never conducted, even though she says she felt very sick, like she had consumed something other than alcohol. We asked police if a toxicology test would normally be conducted if the alleged victim felt like he or she may have been drugged.
"I mean I guess it depends on the nature of the investigation, again, I can't say that it wasn't done."
So was as a toxicology test done?
"The details of the investigation will be presented at the trial, you'll need to speak with the district attorney's office on any of that type of stuff."
We also asked if Petry knew Munoz on a personal level.
"I've worked with mark, yes I did," Petry said. They worked together for about a year, but he says their relationship isn't hampering his ability to objectively relay information to the public.
"I think we're objectively doing that right now," he said.
Another question: why was the public not informed at the time of Munoz's arrest that a police officer - still on the force - had been indicted on a second degree felony charge?
"We don't put out press releases in these types of incidents, we don't." Petry said the reason is to protect the victim. We also found a report in the case file detailing the incident, but it is incomplete; the second page is missing. That missing page contains information provided by witnesses. Police say they don't know where the second page is and that it may include confidential information not privy to the public, so for that reason it may have been left out. As for Munoz, Petry said there is an ongoing administrative investigation.
We also tried to contact the district attorney's office for comment, but they didn't return our calls.