Alleges fellow deputy slapped her 'butt' with his hand

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr.

Alice Echo-News Journal

Former Jim Wells County Deputy Vicky Puente filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Alice Police Department on Oct. 16, stemming from an alleged incident which took place at the JWC Sheriff's Department in August.

In her written statement to APD, Puente said that while employed with the JWC Sheriff's office she was the victim of a simple assault.

Puente said in her statement she was in her office in late August during the day shift with former Deputy Mark Martinez and Alice High School COPS in Schools Deputy Jason Childers. Puente started to exit the room, when Childers slapped her "butt with his hand," the report said.

Puente went on to write in her statement that she immediately turned around to face Childers, who was staring at her and smiling after the alleged incident.

According to the report, she asked Martinez if he witnessed the assault, and he acknowledged that he had. She said she then advised Childers not to do it again.

Puente claims that during her time in the sheriff's department, Childers allegedly made numerous sexual remarks towards her.

Puente said in the report that was the first and only time Childers had placed his hands on her and that at no time did she give Childers permission to place his hands on her.

Puente said she filed a sexual harassment complaint within the department following the incident and that nothing was ever done. The Alice Echo-News Journal is awaiting the results of a Freedom of Information request to obtain a copy of Puente's original complaint.

Puente, along with Martinez, was the subject of a departmental investigation concerning a policy issue. Both Puente and Martinez resigned from the department in late September. Puente has said that after six days of investigation, the sheriff's department did not reveal they found any evidence of wrongdoing on her part.

Puente is currently pregnant and said she resigned for health reasons.

She said in her statement that Childers was aware of her pregnancy at the time of the alleged incident.

Childers said that because of a department policy, he could not comment on the sexual harassment complaint. Sheriff Oscar Lopez said he would not comment on Childers being named in the complaint, but said that since the complaint was at the police department, he was sure APD was investigating it.

Lt. Luis Barrera with the APD said the complaint could be considered a simple assault charge, which is a misdemeanor. The case is currently under review by Alice City Attorney Joe Torres, officials said.