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FARMINGTON – A 44-year-old Albuquerque man was accused last week of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled relative at a Farmington motel.

Matthew Springer was charged Thursday in Farmington Magistrate Court with criminal sexual penetration, a second-degree felony, and criminal sexual contact of a minor, a third-degree felony.

New Mexico State Police Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said Wednesday Springer was arrested Oct. 28 at his home in Albuquerque.

He had not retained legal representation, according to court records.

New Mexico State Police first learned on April 15 that Springer's 19-year-old relative had accused him of sexual abuse, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The young woman, who has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old, told investigators on April 22 that Springer had groped her vaginal area in July 2014 at an unidentified Farmington motel during a vacation to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the affidavit states.

The girl told detectives she was in bed with Springer when the act occurred.

She said the abuse happened whenever they went on vacation, the affidavit states.

Springer was interviewed by detectives on the same date as the victim, according to the affidavit.

Springer admitted to detectives he took showers with her and afterward they would "snuggle" in bed, sometimes while she was partially nude. Springer also admitted he groped her during trips to the Grand Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Bandelier National Monument, but denied he sexually penetrated her, the affidavit states.

The young woman said Springer anally penetrated her during the vacation to the Chaco park, according to the affidavit.

Armijo said the allegations that sexual abuse occurred in Arizona have been referred to Arizona law enforcement officials for investigation and possible prosecution.

A preliminary examination hearing has not yet been scheduled in this case, according to court records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644. 

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