Former deputy gets five years on sex charge

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The Portales News-Tribune does not routinely name victims of sexual assault. In this case, the victim has agreed to be publicly identified.

CLOVIS — A former Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputy will spend five years in prison for having sex with a female inmate.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Ted Hartley on Thursday sentenced Gary Adkins, 47, for criminal sexual penetration against Ashley LeMier, 24, of Portales. Sentencing took place in the Curry County Courthouse. Hartley could have given Adkins a maximum seven years in prison for the second-degree felony.

LeMier was in the Roosevelt County Jail for a probation violation on July 1, 2005. Officials said Adkins, while on duty, took her from the detention center wearing jail clothes and in handcuffs. He drove to a rural county road where, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, he kissed her and performed sexual acts.

“What he did has affected me a lot,” LeMier told the court. “I would like to see punishment for it.”

Chandler said LeMier felt justice was served with the sentence.

“Law enforcement officers are supposed to use their badge and authority to protect and serve,” Chandler said. “The court sent a strong message today that nobody is above the law, regardless of one’s profession.”

Chandler said New Mexico State Police investigators found Adkins’ semen on the passenger side of the patrol car.

Adkins’ family and friends argued the sex was consensual and asked for leniency.

“This is not a case of consensual and nonconsensual sex,” Hartley said. “It’s an absolute violation of the law. We cannot allow this to happen as a society. I don’t care who enticed who. I don’t care who started it.”

Adkins has served five months in jail and received credit for time served, which means he has a little more than 4 1/2 years remaining.

“I’d like to apologize to my family, friends, law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Department,” Adkins said. “I’m truly sorry. I’ve been in jail for the last five months. It’s been an eternity for me. The consequences I have suffered because of my actions are unimaginable. I’m not perfect. I’m human.”

Chandler said the former deputy’s actions left a black eye on those in law enforcement.

Chandler said Jesse Luera, Roosevelt jail administrator, told Adkins to take a female officer with him before he removed the inmate. According to court documents, Adkins told jail employees he needed to remove LeMier to help him with an investigation.