AZTEC — A judge found former Farmington police officer Richard Emmert Jr. not guilty on all counts of child rape and molestation this afternoon.

Emmert was accused of sexually assaulting two female relatives several years ago before he joined the police force.

Mitch Burns, Emmert's attorney, said they were thankful the judge saw through the chaos and lies perpetrated by Emmert's family and found him not guilty.

"Rick Emmert is not a rapist," Burns said. "He is a good man that was born into a chaotic family life."

Judge John Dean's ruling comes after a two-day bench trial, where Emmert, 26, was accused of sexually assaulting two female relatives at the Emmert family residence in San Juan County.

One 20-year-old relative testified Wednesday that Emmert raped her when she was 14 years old and then threatened violence if she spoke of it. Another  relative, who is 13, refused to testify, but claimed at a preliminary examination hearing in September that Emmert raped her twice when she was between the ages of 8 and 11.

Emmert denied those allegations Thursday in testimony and said he was always the "fall guy" in the family, which consisted of 10 children.

Burns said today that Emmert was a decorated Marine and Farmington police officer who attempted to repair his relationship with his "twisted family," only to be blamed for the horrendous crimes alleged by the victims.

"He looks forward to continuing to contribute to our community and society," Burns said. "And he hopes people see him for who he is, not the lies told by a jealous family."

The alleged victims previously accused Emmert's 21-year-old brother, Timothy Emmert, of the acts, but changed their statements in September after Timothy Emmert was charged with two counts of criminal sexual penetration.

Prosecutors acknowledged that reversal hurt their credibility, but argued the alleged victims were afraid to accuse Richard Emmert, who was a former Marine and police officer at the time.

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

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