New Mexico Attorney General’s Office dismisses child sex abuse charges against three people

The three defendants were charged on July 10, 2020, by the state AG’s office.

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas
  • The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office on July 8 dismissed 18 first-degree felony counts of criminal sexual penetration against Brandy Stevens, Michael Stevens, and Bennie Wabbington, according to court documents.
  • The July 8 motion to dismiss states the girl under the age of 13 years old does not recant “the disclosures of sexual abuse in any way.”
  • The charges are still pending against a fourth defendant in the investigation.

FARMINGTON — The state attorney general’s office has dismissed cases against three people accused of multiple sexual abuse charges, citing testimony issues.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office on July 8 dismissed 18 first-degree felony counts of criminal sexual penetration against Brandy Stevens, Michael Stevens and Bennie Wabbington, according to court documents.

The three defendants were charged on July 10, 2020, by the state AG’s office.

Brandy Stevens faced eight counts while Michael Stevens and Wabbington each faced four counts.

The July 8 motion to dismiss states the girl under the age of 13 years old does not recant “the disclosures of sexual abuse in any way.”

The motion also states the girl is unable to proceed with the cases due to the death of a relative.

"(Girl) has been cooperative with the prosecution of these matters and would have continued to do so had it not been for the unfortunate circumstances," the motion states. "It is in the best interests of (girl) to not continue forward at this time."

Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement to The Daily Times his office’s top priority is prosecuting sexual violence against children.

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“We fully support the survivor’s decision to protect her health and well-being at this time, and we will absolutely refile this case if she decides to do so,” Balderas said.

Julita Leavell, Wabbington’s attorney, said in a statement the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case twice due to a lack of evidence.

“The AG's case was rife with error, lack of evidence, contradictory witness statements, and general sense of utter disorganization on the part of the (AG’s) office,” Leavell said.

Kelly Golightley, Michael Stevens' attorney, told The Daily Times her client is very relieved to see the case was dismissed.

Lisa Torraco, Brandy Stevens’ attorney, said in a statement this decision to dismiss the case has been a long time coming. She also alleges the child in this case was coached into making these allegations.   

“It is a tragedy that these false allegations have hung over the heads of Brandy and Michael Stevens,” Torraco said.

The AG’s office at the end of the motion stated it reserves the right to refile the charges in the future, a statement Leavell did not welcome.

“For the (AG’s) office to posture as though they would refile and put the three accused through this illogical nightmare yet again is an extreme abuse of power and wanton waste of resources,” Leavell said in a statement.

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The charges are still pending against a fourth defendant in the case.

Casey Stallings is currently incarcerated at a federal prison in Colorado, according to court documents. 

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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