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Thursday
Jul212011

Caught on Tape: New Mexico Judge Charged with Raping Prostitute

Pixland/Comstock/Thinkstock(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A long-serving New Mexico criminal court judge has been arrested on charges that he raped a prostitute who videotaped the encounter and sold it to undercover Albuquerque detectives.

Judge Albert "Pat" Murdoch was arrested on Tuesday on charges of criminal sexual penetration and intimidation of a witness. Murdoch presides over the criminal division for the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court and is a well-known and respected judge who has been serving for 26 years.

If convicted, Murdoch could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

One of his most high-profile cases was the 2010 Desert Divas case, regarding a prostitution ring. He ultimately suppressed the prostitution ring's client list.

Murdoch has also made rulings in numerous prostitution and rape cases, and Albuquerque Police Department Commander Doug West said there is a "good possibility" that the judge's arrest "has the potential to put all the cases in jeopardy."

The alleged victim in the charges against Murdoch is an Albuquerque woman who said Murdoch contacted her after seeing her advertisement for sexual services online. She said she met with him and he took her to his home where she was paid $200 for sexual favors, according to court documents.

The woman told detectives that she went to Murdoch's home eight times and that he forcibly performed oral sex on her, despite her objections to oral sex. After he did this a first time, she said, she hid a video camera in his room and recorded him forcibly doing this to her again amid her protests.

The police report said "her statement was supported by the video" and that her protests were audible on the tape.

West said the case cannot be tried in front of the district attorney in Bernalillo County because so many of the community members are the judge's friends and clients. The Supreme Court will have to decide in which county or district the case can be heard.

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