Former Española mayor Richard Lucero is defending himself against allegations that he sexually assaulted a former Boy Scouts of America member and employee in the 1980s.
Boy Scouts of America is named as a co-defendant in the suit.
Lucero denied the allegations that he ever sexually abused anyone on Monday.
The plaintiff in the suit alleges that his mother worked for Lucero during his tenure as mayor from 1986 to 1994. The suit alleges that the plaintiff began working at Country Farm Supply, a store that Lucero owns, during the same time period.
“Mr. Lucero also invited (the plaintiff) to join the Explorers,” Attorney John Tiwald wrote in the suit. “(Plaintiff’s) parents trusted Mr. Lucero because of his position as Mayor and his standing in the community.”
The suit alleges that from then on Lucero began inviting the plaintiff for overnight sleepovers, and would massage his feet and cut his toenails. He is also accused of telling the young man he wanted “to know everything” about how his body worked, and asking him about masturbation.
The plaintiff wrote that he repeatedly rejected Lucero’s attempts at sexual contact, but that Lucero threatened his mother’s job if he continued to refuse his advances.
Lucero denied ever threatening to fire the mother of the plaintiff who was city clerk at the time.
“That’s a lie, because I wouldn’t threaten anybody,” Lucero said. “First of all, you don’t fire somebody with such reasons, you have to have reasons to fire somebody.”
He said the plaintiff’s mother did an excellent job as a city government employee.
In the filing, Tiwald wrote that Lucero began “initiating direct sexual contact,” with the plaintiff when he was 12 years old.
“During this time, Mr. Lucero began giving gifts to (the plaintiff), including a 1986 GMC Jimmy vehicle, an Enduro motorcycle, a radio-controlled model car, and other gifts,” Tiwald wrote in the suit.
Lucero admitted that he did give the plaintiff a vehicle, but said the gift was at the plaintiff’s father’s request.
“One day, his father called me, and he said ‘He needs a vehicle to drive around in, do you have an extra one?’” Lucero said. “I found one of my trucks and I drove it to the house and put a title on the window and I said, ‘There’s your truck,’ and I walked home.”
According to the suit, Lucero also took the plaintiff on a number of Explorer-related trips, and personal trips as well. It was during these trips that the plaintiff alleged some of the sexual assaults took place.
“That’s not true,” Lucero said. “He was involved in the Youth Council but not scout group, Youth Council.”
During Lucero’s tenure a council of young people from the area, the Youth Council, was formed to encourage young people to participate in civic leadership and to advise the Española City Council.
Lucero said he was surprised by the allegations, and had contacted his attorney.
“I don’t believe that and understand it,” Lucero said when asked directly about the sexual allegations in the suit.
The suit claims that at multiple points during his youth, Lucero threatened the plaintiff with repercussions if he told anyone or if he refused to participate in various sexual acts.
“Mr. Lucero threatened to take back the GMC Jimmy and the Enduro motorcycle if (the plaintiff) disclosed or failed to comply with Mr. Lucero’s sexual conduct,” Tiwald wrote.
The plaintiff allegedly never told anyone about his experience until he was incarcerated in July 2016 for a drug-related offense in the Santa Fe County Detention Center, Tiwald wrote.
During that time the plaintiff told a jail counselor for the first time about what Tiwald described as his “childhood sexual abuse,” and subsequently disclosed the information to his counselor.
The suit alleges Lucero intentionally groomed the plaintiff and then assaulted him causing both physical and psychological trauma as well as severe emotional distress.
The suit alleges that the Boy Scouts of America was negligent in hiring Lucero and that the organization should have done more to prevent Lucero from allegedly assaulting the plaintiff.
A media contact for the Boy Scouts of America promised to gather information about Lucero’s time with the organization, but did not return comments as of press time.
Tiwald said his office is investigating Lucero and believes there may be more victims. He said Lucero was served with a copy of the suit on July 20.