Aztec teacher charged with molesting student

Steve Garrison
Shane Kirkland

FARMINGTON — A 22-year-old drama teacher at Aztec High School has been charged with molestation on allegations he performed oral sex on a 15-year-old male student.

Shane Kirkland, a Bloomfield resident, was charged June 15 in Aztec Magistrate Court with two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, a second-degree felony.

Kirkland has posted a $30,000 appearance bond and will remain free from jail on the condition he wear an ankle monitor and refrain from contacting the victim or witnesses in the case, according to court records.

Attorney Steve Murphy, who is representing Kirkland, said Wednesday that the alleged victim had a vendetta against the teacher and had previously attempted to get him in trouble with school officials.

Murphy said the student was upset with Kirkland because the teacher told the student’s mother he was skipping classes.

“The next thing we know, OK, he is having inappropriate sexual contact with him,” Murphy said.

The student reported to a Bloomfield police detective on April 27 he had a sexual encounter with Kirkland at the teacher’s home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The student said the incident occurred in either October or November 2015 when he was 15 years old, the affidavit states.

He said Kirkland took him to his home and told him about a play he wanted to stage where an actor would need to be almost naked, according to the affidavit.

The student told Kirkland he would do it, and Kirkland asked the boy to show him his genitals, according to the affidavit.

The boy complied, and Kirkland allegedly touched him there, the affidavit states. Kirkland then briefly performed oral sex on the student, according to the affidavit, before the boy stopped him and told him he wanted to go home.

The boy told detectives he clipped his pubic hair in the teacher’s bathroom before the alleged sexual activity.

A detective executed a search warrant at Kirkland’s residence on May 6 and collected several hairs from the bathroom floor.

The detective noted in the complaint the boy’s description of the layout of the teacher’s bedroom and bathroom was accurate.

Bloomfield police Chief Randy Foster said today the hairs were sent to a forensic crime lab to be tested, but the department had not yet received the results.

The boy told detectives Kirkland was close to another student in the drama program. That student was interviewed and told detectives Kirkland had never inappropriately touched him, the affidavit states.

Kirkland was hired in August as the Aztec High School drama teacher after the retirement of Sidley Harrison.

Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter today confirmed that Kirkland was an employee of the district, but said he could not discuss the teacher’s contract.

“I don’t have much to say about it,” he said.

Kirkland is scheduled to appear at a preliminary examination hearing on Aug. 9.

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