Suspect confessed to inappropriately touching 10-year-old boy

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FARMINGTON — A Farmington man who confessed to inappropriately touching a 10-year-old boy during an interview with police is accused of 40 sex offense charges.

Harold Atencio, 54, is accused of 10 first-degree felony counts of criminal sexual penetration, 30 second-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor and one fourth-degree felony count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a San Juan County Sheriff's Office press release.

Atencio had his first appearance this morning in Aztec Magistrate Court and was being held without bond at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

He did not have legal representation listed, according to court records.

Atencio is accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy and various sex offenses, including performing oral sex on the child, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

He was interviewed by detectives for the Sheriff's Office Monday morning, when he confessed to inappropriately touching the boy about 25 to 30 times.

The investigation started on Dec. 26, when the boy's father called the Sheriff's Office from Florida, stating he wanted to report a sex offense involving his children, who used to live in Kirtland with their mother.

The boy and his sibling live with the father in Florida.

The father said his children lived in Kirtland with their mother from June until Oct. 14, when they were removed from the residence by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, according to court documents.

He added that his son told him that his ex-wife's neighbor had touched him in the "private parts," the affidavit states.

The father also said the boy's sibling told him about Atencio allegedly touching his son's "private part" after the two children moved to Florida.

As part of the investigation, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office in Inverness, Florida. assisted in the case by arranging interviews with the 10-year-old boy and his sibling with an investigator on Feb. 20.

On March 13, a detective for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office received a copy of reports from the two interviews and copies of the video recording of the interviews.

Detectives for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office interviewed Atencio at the agency's building on Monday morning.

During the interview, Atencio initially denied the allegations before confessing to inappropriately touching the boy.

He added the boy sometimes would stay overnight at his residence, and the boy's mother would give him the boy's clothing to dress him in the morning and take him to school. Toward the end of the interview, Atencio told detectives he was sorry for what he had done to the boy.

Atencio's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. on March 29.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office is seeking to hold Atencio without bond pending trial, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.

If any citizens believe their children may have had contact with Atencio or could potentially be a victim of sex abuse, they can contact a Sheriff's Office detective at 505-334-7749.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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