MAN RELEASED UNTIL TRIAL
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.