By Tony Parra
A Portales High School senior was arrested last week and remains in the Roosevelt County Detention Center after being charged with first-degree criminal sexual penetration, Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said.
Daniel Aranda, 18, is charged as a juvenile. Bond has not been set, Berry said.
“The only thing we (family) can say is that he’s innocent,” said Ortencia Aranda, Daniel Aranda’s mother. “He’s a good kid.”
Ortencia Aranda said she could not comment any further.
Berry said the incident happened in January when Aranda was 17 and the alleged victim was under age 12. Since the incident, Aranda has turned 18.
Aranda was a guard on the Portales Rams basketball team. He was in the detention center while the Portales boys defeated the West Las Vegas Dons, 71-44, on Saturday. Aranda’s last game was when the Rams defeated the Ruidoso Warriors, 52-41, to claim the District 4-3A championship on Feb. 25.
Aranda was the leading scorer for the Rams’ team, which will be without him for the remainder of the state tournament. The Rams play the Ruidoso Warriors at 4 p.m. on Wednesday in Bernallilo in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Randy Fowler, superintendent of the Portales School District was asked on Monday what Aranda’s status at the high school was and whether Aranda would be able to graduate in May.
“It’s hard to make a determination at this point in time,” Fowler said. “We’ll have to wait for more information to make a decision. It would be premature of me to make a decision without all of the facts.”
Fowler said he had talked to Melvin Nusser, high school principal, about Aranda’s arrest.
“I knew there had been a problem, but I did not know about the seriousness of the charge,” Fowler added.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said Aranda faces a maximum punishment of 18 years in prison if tried as an adult. If Aranda is convicted as a juvenile, he would be sent to the New Mexico Boys’ School until he is 21, Chandler said.