James Mountain, a former San Ildefonso governor who is Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pick to lead the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, was previously indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated battery back in 2007.
According to KUNM, “in 2010, the charges were dropped because the prosecution had insufficient evidence to proceed to trial, and court records were then sealed.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported at the time:
Mountain threw the victim down on the bed and got on top of her, the report says. The victim said she told Mountain “no,” and he should stop when he began to touch her breasts under her shirt and “get aggressive,” according to the report. Mountain took off her jeans and underwear and raped her, the report says.
“When (the victim) began to scream for (her cousin) to help her, James covered her face with a white pillow he had grabbed from the head of the bed,” the report says. “(The victim) told James she could not breathe and explained she thought she was going to lose consciousness.”
When Mountain finished, the victim ran out the bedroom door, which had been locked, and woke up her cousin, the report states. She told the cousin what had happened and the cousin called 911, according to the report.
The Associated Press reported, “On Friday, as calls for Mountain’s recusal from state leaders and activists continued to surface, a spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the governor was ‘aware’ of the allegations against Mountain but does not intend to withdraw her nomination.”
Democrat state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez said that Mountain should be “fully vetted” before being confirmed by the state Senate for the role.
“I’m very troubled by the idea of having someone with his kind of record in that position that oversees the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force,” she said.
State Sen. Shannon Pinto (D-Tohatchi) said, “I’ve been fighting this, will fight it ‘til the end,” adding, “There’s not any compromise for me in it to support it in any manner. It’s just not something that can happen right now. This is not the time. This is not the place. This is not the position that can be compromised, as far as the figurehead representing Native American people within our state.”
It is unclear if Mountain will make it through the Senate confirmation process amid the rape allegations that still loom large over his confirmation.