NM man charged with sex assault of foster daughter

Date: 2010-04-03

The Associated Press

FARMINGTON, N.M.—A foster father who previously faced 85 counts of criminal sexual penetration against a minor has been arrested on six counts of the same crime after a different alleged victim videotaped one of the incidents.

Todd Mortensen, 45, confessed to the six counts, which reportedly occurred between March 22 and March 30 in his home, where the 12-year-old alleged victim lived as a foster child, San Juan County Sheriff's Capt. Tim Black said.

Mortensen was arrested Thursday and booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on six charges of second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor younger than the age 13. He was being held on a $58,000 cash bond.

The phone to Mortensen's attorney, Scott Curtis, rang unanswered Saturday and there was no answering machine.

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department removed the 12-year-old girl and two teenage girls from his home.

Mortensen was charged in 2004 with 65 counts of first-degree felony criminal sexual penetration and 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor after a 15-year-old foster child alleged he had sexual intercourse with her, according to police records.

All 85 charges were dismissed by the prosecutor, and no information was available late Friday on why they were dropped.

District Attorney Rick Tedrow said his office is looking into the old case.

Mortensen and his wife Lisa have had dozens of foster children in their home over the years and adopted several of them. Mortensen used to have a license with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, but hasn't for several years, department spokeswoman Romaine Serna said.

She said the 12-year-old girl was not fostered through the department and that she believes the arrangements were conducted privately with another family.
Preliminary reports indicate the girl told an adult who used to live in the home about being assaulted. The adult gave her a video camera, which she set up in the bedroom to capture footage of the alleged molestation, Black said.

Family members confronted Mortensen, who went to Curtis, his attorney, for assistance. Curtis represented Mortensen in the previous case.

Officers took clothing and bedding from the home, and a rape examination was conducted on the girl. Results were not immediately available.

Mortensen, a nurse at San Juan Regional Medical Center since May 2008, resigned Thursday, according to hospital spokesman Dennis Mathis, who added that Mortensen did not work with children there.

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