Po­lice say Scates ad­mit­ted crimes dur­ing in­ter­view


63-year-old Rio Ran­cho man is ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a fe­male rel­a­tive.

A San­doval County Dis­trict Court judge de­ter­mined a Rio Ran­cho man ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a fe­male rel­a­tive can re­main out of jail while he awaits trial.

Rio Ran­cho po­lice had be­gun in­ves­ti­gat­ing Win­ston Scates Sr., 63, af­ter 6-year-old Ari­ana Romeo was raped and stran­gled in­side his home in Au­gust. He is not charged in that case.

An­other man, Le­land Hust, 21, is charged with child abuse re­sult­ing in death and crim­i­nal sex­ual pen­e­tra­tion in the Romeo case.

How­ever, Scates faces one count of crim­i­nal sex­ual con­tact of a mi­nor in­volv­ing a dif­fer­ent child.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Ari­ana’s death, po­lice say sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions against Scates sur­faced and he ad­mit­ted in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing a fe­male rel­a­tive when she was un­der the age of 13.

At a hear­ing in the 13th Ju­di­cial Dis­trict Court in San­doval County on Fri­day, Judge Louis McDon­ald de­nied a mo­tion filed by the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice to keep Scates be­hind bars un­til trial.

Hust was also sup­posed to at­tend a hear­ing Fri­day af­ter­noon, but it was can­celed.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, de­tec­tive Aaron Brown said the al­le­ga­tions against Scates came out dur­ing in­ter­views in the days fol­low­ing Ari­ana’s death.

Brown said Scates later ad­mit­ted in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing two un­der­age fe­male rel­a­tives dur­ing a recorded in­ter­view with de­tec­tives. Scates faces charges in only one of those in­ci­dents.

For the charges he’s fac­ing, Brown said Scates told po­lice he in­ap­pro­pri­ately touched the fe­male “one or two times” when she was 13, but the fe­male told de­tec­tives it be­gan when she was 6 and “con­tin­ued un­til she was in mid­dle school.”

Brown said that, af­ter po­lice ar­rested Scates, at least one more ju­ve­nile came for­ward with al­le­ga­tions against Scates.

“We have had peo­ple come for­ward, ju­ve­niles in fact, who stated they wished to talk to us and were ad­mit­tedly scared be­fore they saw Mr. Scates was ar­rested,” he said.

Brown said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ad­di­tional al­le­ga­tions is on­go­ing.

De­fense At­tor­ney Liane Kerr took is­sue with Brown over Scates not be­ing read his Mi­randa rights be­fore the in­ter­view with de­tec­tives, as well as the rel­e­vance of any fur­ther al­le­ga­tions with­out more de­tails be­ing pro­vided or charges be­ing filed.

Kerr grilled Brown to give any spe­cific dates and lo­ca­tions of pre­vi­ous al­le­ga­tions and why the “un-mi­ran­dized” in­ter­view was pro­vided to the pros­e­cu­tion but not to her be­fore trial.

In the end, Judge McDon­ald ruled that prose­cu­tors had not proved “by clear and con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence” that Scates was a flight risk or dan­ger to the com­mu­nity and re­leased him un­der cer­tain con­di­tions: to not have ac­cess to a com­puter or con­tact with any­one un­der the age of 18.


Win­ston Scates Sr., 63, ap­pears be­fore a judge in 13th Ju­di­cial Dis­trict Court in San­doval County on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

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