A Valencia County grand jury handed down a 29-count indictment Thursday against a Los Lunas man who is charged with numerous crimes against children.
Thomas Dietrich, 35, was indicted on seven counts of criminal sexual penetration, five counts of kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a child, 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of enticement of a child and one of criminal sexual contact of a child under 13.
Dietrich had previously been charged with 57 counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of criminal sexual penetration. District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said that, after his office looked over the case, he decided that some of the counts couldn’t be proven.
“There was a question about the precise age of the victims from the evidence we had,” Martinez said. “It would have been difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The district attorney’s office offered the grand jury information and evidence during the hearing that led it to indict Dietrich on the additional charges.
“We’re satisfied at this point with the officer on the case and the grand jury,” Martinez said. “We will proceed to prosecute this case to the best of our ability to obtain justice in this case. Children are a protected class in New Mexico, and this office will do its best to bring justice in this case.”
According to the grand jury indictment filed in district court, Dietrich is accused of abusing three different boys over a six-year period. When the Los Lunas man was first arrested, he was charged in connection with allegations from one teenage boy. Martinez said he couldn’t elaborate on circumstances involving the other victims in the case.
Dietrich was arrested earlier this month after a teenage boy told Los Lunas Detective James Harris that Dietrich had sexually abused him on numerous occasions. During his investigation, Harris said he found pictures on Dietrich’s home computer that allegedly showed adolescent boys in sexually explicit situations.
Dietrich, who is a former Valencia County Adult Probation and Parole officer, is now on disciplinary leave from his job with the State Children Youth and Families Department as a juvenile correctional officer at Camino Nuevo, a maximum-security facility in Albuquerque.
Dietrich is currently being held at the Valencia County Adult Detention Center in Los Lunas on a $500,000 cash or surety bond.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.