Mountains

Sexual contact allegation dismissed against fired deputy

By Tobie Baker Journal staff writer

A former Montezuma County sheriff’s deputy has been cleared of any wrongdoing related to an accusation of inappropriately touching a suspect.

The accusation was made by a 52-year-old Cortez woman, who claimed in a written complaint filed Jan. 28 that former drug enforcement deputy Darrin Harper fondled her breast and felt her inner thighs following a traffic stop on Nov. 1, 2012. The district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office both launched an investigation, but neither agency found any evidence to support the claim.

“After a careful review of the evidence, no charges will be filed against Darrin Harper,” said District Attorney Will Furse.

Furse said he believes both agencies took all appropriate steps and investigative procedures following their receipt of the allegations.

“I specifically commend Lt. Ted Meador of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office for his thorough attention to the serious, yet unfounded, accusations against former Deputy Darrin Harper,” Furse said.

According to Meador’s report, the alleged victim was interviewed twice, and she admitted during her second interview that she has a mental illness and sometimes makes up things “that did not happen.” She told investigators she never meant to harm anyone.

The investigation also included listening to recorded jail phone calls, talking with the alleged victim’s husband, and interviewing several officers present at the scene on the night in question, but no evidence was found to corroborate the complaint.

“That never happened,” Cortez Police Department Lt. Andy Brock told Meador in regard to the alleged misconduct.

Court records show the woman was stopped by law enforcement and arrested for driving under the influence of drugs on the night in question. The charges against her were dismissed in January.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com

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