New Mexico

Doña Ana County Sheriff fires embattled under sheriff Ken Roberts

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Enrique "Kiki" Vigil, the sheriff of Doña Ana County, has fired his under sheriff, Ken Roberts.

"Sexual harassment and misconduct allegations were recently filed against Undersheriff Ken Roberts by employees of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department. At my request, an internal affairs investigation was conducted by an independent investigations firm," Vigil said in a statement, "In fairness to all involved, it was my desire that this investigation be conducted in a fair and impartial manner."

Vigil further stated the findings he recently received "were substantiated in one of the complaints."

"After further internal review and consideration of the extenuating circumstances, Mr. Ken Roberts has been relieved of all duties as Undersheriff and has been terminated as an employee of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office, effective immediately," Vigil further stated, "I cannot condone this type of behavior under any circumstances, and will do all that I can to ensure that the sheriff's office is free of sexual harassment or any other type of misconduct."

Several employees within the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office filed complaints against Roberts in recent years, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, records obtained by ABC-7 state. "One day, when I wore a dress to work, the Undersheriff winked at me," wrote a woman who filed a complaint. "It was offensive. He would not have winked at a man."

The employee, who worked for the sheriff's office for seven years, claimed in the complaint that Roberts treated women differently than men in the office.  "Undersheriff Ken Roberts (is) biased against females, treated females worse than males, and (doesn't) like having females in positions of authority," the employee complained.

The woman also complained administrators within the sheriff's office did not follow standard protocol for discrimination claims and "engaged in discriminatory treatment favoring Hispanics."