Farmington man accused of groping girl
FARMINGTON – A 33-year-old Farmington man was accused last week of molesting a 7-year-old girl.
Brett Darnell was charged Dec. 31 in Aztec Magistrate Court with criminal sexual contact of a minor, a second-degree felony, and child abuse.
Darnell was released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center after posting a $40,000 surety bond, according to court records.
Darnell's attorney, Steve Murphy, said Tuesday that his client did not touch the girl inappropriately, and he would challenge the state's evidence at a preliminary examination hearing scheduled for Jan. 21.
"We just don't believe there was any sexual gratification involved, basically," Murphy said. "We believe the little girl is exaggerating things, and there was no sexual intent whatsoever."
The girl's mother contacted the San Juan County Sheriff's Office on Dec. 22 to report her daughter said Darnell touched her on the buttocks a week earlier, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The girl was interviewed by investigators on Dec. 23, the affidavit states. She told them Darnell was drunk on the night of the incident and groped her buttocks several times while they were asleep in a bed at his residence, according to the affidavit.
The girl's older brother, who was also in bed with Darnell, told investigators he did not see anything because the lights were out, but he heard his sister tell Darnell to stop, the affidavit states.
The girl told investigators she reported the incident to her grandfather. The grandfather told detectives in an interview on Dec. 29 that the girl "makes up stuff," according to the affidavit.
Darnell was also interviewed by detectives on Dec. 29. He admitted to drinking on the night in question, but told detectives he did not purposely touch the girl on the buttocks, the affidavit states.
He said he did not remember much from later in the night because of his intoxication, according to the affidavit.
Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.
Contact the Sexual Assault Services 24-hour rape crisis hotline at 505-326-4700 or 866-908-4700.