Charges dropped against WNMU student-athlete

Written by on November 16, 2019

Charges have been dropped against David Valles, a Western New Mexico University student-athlete, who was accused of criminal sexual penetration last year. The charge was dismissed by the prosecutor in September.

According to an affidavit for summons, a detective for the Silver City Police Department investigated a possible criminal sexual penetration that happened Nov. 11, 2018. The victim and two witnesses, one of whom was the victim’s sister, spoke with the detective. 

The victim told the detective she had been at a party and hadn’t drunk alcohol for quite some time before then, the affidavit states. She was under the influence, however, and was outside the party with Valles, who was a member of the WNMU tennis team at that time. The woman said she knew Valles and had seen him at other parties. They kissed. 

She told the detective that Valles tried to bring her into her apartment, but she didn’t want to go. Instead, the woman went back to the party. Knowing she was intoxicated and needed to go home, the woman asked her roommate to take her back to their apartment. That witness, who was a friend and roommate, told the detective that she stayed with the victim until she went to sleep, according to the affidavit. The two witnesses and a roommate rotated watching the victim. When one of the witnesses took a partygoer home, she asked the roommate to keep an eye on the intoxicated woman. 

When that witness came back about 10 minutes later to check on the victim in the bathroom, she saw Valles having sexual intercourse with the victim, and she said he didn’t stop when she entered the room.

The witness then called for the other witness, who also saw Valles having sex with the victim, the affidavit states. One of the witnesses pushed Valles off the victim and took him outside. A resident assistant then took Valles to his dorm. 

The victim told the detective that she didn’t remember anything until the second witness came in. 

The sexual penetration in the third degree charge and arrest warrant were filed in Grant County Magistrate Court on Nov. 16, five days after the incident allegedly occurred. Valles was released on $15,000 bond with a GPS monitor. 

During a pretrial conference/plea hearing July 15, Jess Lilley, Valles’ defense attorney, asked to have a two- to three-day trial set in late September. On Sept. 18, Deputy District Attorney Kenny Montoya, who was prosecuting the case, filed a “nolle prosequi” — meaning he was unwilling to pursue the case further.

“This is a case that can still be refiled if the evidence goes in that direction,” Montoya told the Daily Press. “There is just more time needed.”

“We think it was the right decision by the state,” Lilley, Valles’ attorney, said. “Mr. Valles is ready to move on with his life.”

Lilley told the Daily Press in May that Valles was still a WNMU student but was temporarily suspended from the tennis team. According to university registrar’s records, Valles started as a freshman in fall 2017, is currently an international student and is listed on the tennis team. 

The Daily Press left messages for Valles, which were not returned. 

As is the practice at most media outlets, the Daily Press does not publish the names of victims in sexual assault cases, but the victim told the Daily Press in a message that it was her decision to have the case dismissed. 

These past “few months I’ve been going to church,” she said. “And I couldn’t hold the burden on me to ruin someone’s life, even though what he did was hurtful and embarrassing. But, I’ve managed to forgive him and move on with my life. God can be the judge of him, and I think he did learn from his mistakes. By letting the case go, I was not reminded of it anymore, and I hope it can help me heal.”

C.P. Thompson may be reached at cp@scdaily press.com.

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