Alleged incidents took place for about 12 to 13 years

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FARMINGTON — A San Juan County man faces 144 sexual assault charges for allegedly molesting and raping a female relative during the course of approximately 12 to 13 years.

Michael Avalos, 52, was charged Tuesday and accused of 60 counts of criminal sexual penetration in the first degree (child under 13 years of age), 60 counts of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree (force or coercion, child 13 to 18) and 24 counts of criminal sexual penetration in the third degree (force or coercion), according to the criminal complaint.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a female relative starting when she was 8 years old until she was 20 years old, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Avalos did not have an attorney for the case listed on Friday. Sarah Field, Avalos' public defender in a separate case, declined comment.

The charges in the separate case filed on April 20 include a third-degree felony count of criminal sexual penetration and a fourth-degree felony count of false imprisonment, according to court records.

It was the investigation into the earlier case that led detectives for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to file the 144 charges against Avalos, according to court documents.

A Sheriff's Office detective interviewed the victim at a residence west of Bloomfield on April 13. The victim told detective Avalos had been "sexually molesting" her since she was about 8 years old.

She said Avalos would digitally penetrate her while she was in bed and that the abuse occurred about once a week for about three years until she was 11 years old, according to the affidavit.

When she was 11 years old, the victim told the detective the occurrences did not stop and Avalos "had sex" with her until she was 20 years old.

The victim stated Avalos told her to not say anything or he would hurt her and her family if they ever found out.

The detective interviewed Avalos on April 20. The suspect initially claimed that if he touched the victim, it was after she was 18 years old. He then changed his story, claiming he had consensual sex with the victim after she was 18 years old.

He also told the detective nothing recent had occurred for any of the allegations to be brought up, according to the affidavit.

At one point, Avalos accused a male relative of putting his hand down the pants of the victim.

Avalos was incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center Thursday on a no-bond hold.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office filed against an expedited motion for pretrial detention on Thursday to hold Avalos without bond pending trial.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday in Aztec District Court.

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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