Trial begins for ex-cop accused of rape

Steve Garrison
Richard Emmert

AZTEC — A judge heard allegations today that a former Farmington police officer sexually abused two female relatives before he joined the force.

A 20-year-old relative of Richard Emmert Jr. testified today at a bench trial that the 26-year-old man raped her at the family’s residence in San Juan County when she was 14 years old.

She said Emmert had groped her numerous times before that incident.

“He said let’s go outside,” the woman testified. “I knew something was going to happen, but I thought he was going to touch me again.”

Another 13-year-old girl refused to testify today, telling Judge John Dean she did not wish to relive the alleged crimes.

The judge instead heard recorded testimony the girl provided at a preliminary examination hearing for Emmert in September.

In that testimony, she accused Emmert of raping her twice when she was between the ages of 8 and 11. She said he also groped her breasts and buttocks once during that same time period.

Both alleged victims had previously claimed Emmert’s younger brother, 21-year-old Timothy Emmert, had committed the alleged acts.

Timothy Emmert was charged July 29 with two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child, but those charges were dismissed in September after the alleged victims changed their statements and accused Richard Emmert.

Richard Emmert was a Farmington police officer at the time of the allegations and is a former Marine.

Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen said Wednesday Richard Emmert’s employment ended on Sept. 11, the same day he was charged with seven felony offenses in connection to the sexual abuse allegations.

Allen said Richard Emmert was a probationary officer at the time.

Richard Emmert’s attorney, Mitch Burns, questioned Timothy Emmert's integrity in his opening statement and attacked the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office's investigation into the allegations.

He also pointed to inconsistencies in the alleged victims’ statements to police and suggested Richard Emmert’s mother may have coerced the alleged victims into blaming the older brother.

The mother, Kathleen Emmert, denied that today in testimony. She said she had always been close to “Ricky,” but he was a difficult child, who sometimes made violent threats against others.

“He was always scaring the kids and doing things to hurt them when I turned my back, so the kids were always screaming,” the mother said. “He never wanted to obey rules. He always wanted to be the ruler. He always had control issues.”

The mother admitted she made similar statements to detectives about Timothy Emmert, however.

Kathleen Emmert testified the alleged victims approached her independently after Timothy Emmert’s arrest and confessed that he did not rape them, but instead said it was Richard Emmert.

The 20-year-old female relative testified Wednesday she did not initially accuse Richard Emmert, or report the rape sooner, because she feared him.

“He said if I told anyone that he was going to shoot me and my entire family,” the relative testified.

The 20-year-old female relative claimed the rape occurred in June 2010.

Richard Emmert’s wife, Kylie Emmert, testified they first began dating during that same period.

The wife said the couple visited the family residence only a few times in 2010 and her husband remained at her side during the visits.

She said she and her husband were also together most days during that period.

The trial will continue Thursday.

Burns said today Richard Emmert is expected to testify at the trial.

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