Mervin Yazzie alleged to have videotaped student

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FARMINGTON — A parent of a San Juan County student has filed a lawsuit against a former Central Consolidated School District employee, claiming the student suffered personal injury after being videotaped undressing in a school locker room.

The complaint filed in Aztec District Court on May 1 states the student suffered severe mental injury, pain and suffering, and received medical treatment because of the alleged May 2016 incident involving former employee Mervin Yazzie.

Yazzie worked as a janitor at Kirtland Middle School, which the student was attending during the 2015-2016 school year.

He was accused in May 2016 of using a cell phone to record female students as they were changing clothes in a locker room at the school, according to The Daily Times archives.

Yazzie gained access to the room through a window in an adjacent locker room, according to the archives.

Court documents show that Yazzie was charged with two felony counts of voyeurism and two felony counts of tampering with evidence on May 4, 2016.

He pleaded guilty to the voyeurism charges on April 24, 2017, and the state dismissed the tampering with evidence charges, according to court records.

Yazzie was sentenced on Oct. 17, 2017, to three years in prison, followed by a year of parole, court documents state.

The complaint also names CCSD as a defendant and alleges the district was negligent in failing to use reasonable care in maintaining the locker room and the window, in supervising school employees, and for failing to investigate Yazzie's criminal and employment history.

CCSD spokeswoman Renee Lucero said in a written statement Friday the district does not comment on pending litigation.

"Central Consolidated School District maintains the highest standards of safety and privacy for its students and employees," Lucero wrote.

Yazzie, 34, remains incarcerated at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Las Cruces, according to the New Mexico Corrections Department website.

He did not have an attorney for the case listed on Friday.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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