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AZTEC —A 51-year-old Farmington man was sentenced last week to two years in prison for siring a child with his 18-year-old daughter.

Dale Gallegos was initially charged in September in Farmington Magistrate Court with incest and criminal sexual penetration, both third-degree felonies, but the rape charge was dismissed in a May plea agreement with prosecutors, according to court records.

As reported by The Daily Times, Gallegos' adult daughter contacted the Farmington Police Department in August and claimed her father had raped her in March 2011 when she was 18 years old.

The woman, who has since relocated from Farmington, told police her 3-year-old child was the result of that attack, according to an arrest warrant.

Gallegos initially denied having sexual contact with his daughter, the warrant states. He later admitted they had sex, but claimed it was consensual.

Farmington Police Department Detective George Joy investigated the case. He told Judge John Dean at the June 8 sentencing hearing that the sex, whether consensual or not, was "abhorrent," according to an audio recording of the hearing.

"I would argue your honor that the act, whether it was a rape or whether it was consensual, was the act of a depraved and despicable mind," he said at the hearing.

The victim's grandfather told the judge that a paternity test confirmed Gallegos was the father of his daughter's child, according to the recording.

The victim said in a letter read before the court that her child suffers from both epilepsy and autism, for which she feels guilt.

"As much as I love my daughter, I never wanted her," the victim said. "I wasn't prepared to be a mother."

The victim said she was happy to have her father enter her life when she was a teenager, but that happiness made her blind to his abuse.

"I don't know what happiness is anymore," she said at the hearing.

Gallegos' brother testified at the hearing that he had seen the victim kiss Gallegos inappropriately and the victim was jealous of other women.

Gallegos' defense attorney, Mark Curnutt, said at the hearing that, despite how the victim may now feel, she sent her father Christmas and birthday cards during the time of the alleged abuse telling him she loved him.

Curnutt said Monday in an interview that due to Gallegos' lack of a criminal record, probation with psychological counseling would have been more appropriate than imprisonment.

Dean said during the sentencing hearing that Gallegos is currently under investigation in an unrelated sexual assault case.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said Monday that a second individual came forward with allegations as a result of publicity in the incest case.

Capshaw said he believes Farmington police detectives are still investigating that case.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.

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