A Big Spring Police Department detective was arrested late Wednesday morning and charged with three counts of official oppression, one count of indecency with a child and one count of sexual performance by a child, according to a media release from Big Spring Police Chief Chad Williams.
BSPD Det. Joel Rojo was arrested and charged following criminal investigations conducted by the Texas Rangers at Williams’ request. Rojo was indicted on each of the charges by a grand jury.
According to the release, on the afternoon of Aug. 20, 2015, Williams was contacted by an individual who informed him of allegations of possible misconduct by Rojo. Because the allegations were a serious concern, a preliminary investigation was immediately conducted by administrative staff at Williams’ request. Additionally, Williams immediately sought the assistance of the Texas Rangers.
On the morning of Aug. 21, 2015, Williams placed Rojo on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of both investigations. On the same day, BSPD administrative staff met with Texas Rangers and provided them with all known information, data and documents related to the case. The criminal investigation findings were also given to the Rangers, which, according to the release, is common practice when criminal allegations are made about a police department employee.
The Big Spring PD initiated an internal administrative investigation in regard to the allegation of misconduct. During that investigation, on Oct. 9, 2015, a second allegation was made by a separate party regarding a separate incident. The second allegation was similar in nature, according to the release. Williams again notified the Texas Rangers for their help with the second allegation. An additional internal investigation was ordered.
During the internal investigation into the second allegation, the assigned investigator located an additional victim of possible misconduct. Contact was made with the subject who also alleged misconduct on behalf of Rojo and the Texas Rangers were again immediately notified.
All of the allegations said Rojo coerced and induced three females at different times and locations into compromising situations. Two of the females were involved were juveniles at the alleged incidents.
Rojo remained on administrative leave throughout the internal administrative investigation.
In the release, the Big Spring PD chief said it is recognized that perception is that the investigation should happen quickly and swiftly, but asked the public to have patience and the assurance that because of the nature and complexity of the allegations, an extensive investigation is required to ensure proper due process has been given to all parties involved and the results will be decided upon facts.
Official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Indecency with a child is a third degree felony punishable by two-10 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Sexual performance by a child is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
No further comment will be given on the internal administrative investigation, the release said.