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Apr 10, 2013 8:44 PM by David Ortiviz

Police accused of mishandling case of assault on kids

Pueblo police officers are being accused of making some major errors while investigating a crime against children. A 39-year old suspect, accused of sexual assault and attempted kidnapping, was initially let go with only a citation. One parent is now calling on the Pueblo Police Chief to resign.

Wayne Arrona is now facing two felony charges, but the victim's families and City Council want to know why he was initially allowed to leave the crime scene with only a summons.

This all started last Thursday, when three kids were walking on Abriendo Ave. after school. Arrona allegedly started following them. "He was trolling for kids at a candy store of all things," said Dr. Tim McGettigan, a father of of the victims.

According to an arrest affidavit, Arrona stated he was hoping to "hook up". Those excruciating words were difficult for McGettigan to even repeat. "To hook up... " said McGettigan as he covered his head with his jacket and sniffled.

Arrona is accused of groping, fondling and even kissing a victim as the kids ran for help at a nearby Dollar Tree store.

"I was just worried about the children and what he was trying to do," said Karri James, a store manager. James is being hailed as a hero for chasing after Arrona. "That's when I witnessed him with one of the girls up in the air, holding onto her," said James.

Arrona got away but was later caught by police. Officers gave him a summons for harrassment and disorderly conduct and then released him.

"They essentially treated our reports, our children's reports as having no substance whatsoever," said McGettigan.

Outraged by what they describe as police misconduct the families emailed city council members and quickly got their attention.

"The idea that he had been released, that was all kind of mystifying I believe to all of council," said Steve Nawrocki, Pueblo City Council President.

Council has asked police chief Luis Velez for a full investigation. The chief has already admitted the situation could have been handled better. "There were some actions that appear not to have been taken, that we would have taken," Velez told City Council members at a public council meeting on Monday.

McGettigan is calling for Velez to resign. "I believe he's responsible for the climate that currently operates in the police department that prevents the dedicated police from doing their jobs properly," said McGettigan.

No one at the police department wanted to speak with us on camera about this story, but Chief Velez told council any any complaints by citizens are thoroughly investigation.



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