LAS VEGAS — A female victim reported May 8, 2023 to New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officers in Gallup that she had been the victim of a sexual assault by a man who was now a NMSP officer.
The NMSP Investigations Bureau was requested to take charge of the investigation.
Agents learned that in July of 2022, the 20-year-old female victim had been on a two-week New Mexico National Guard deployment in Las Vegas, N.M. She identified Isaiah Cheromiah, 30, of Laguna, N.M. as a fellow soldier, and at the time of the incident an officer with the Grants Police Department.
The victim said that she, Cheromiah, and some other soldiers had been hanging out during their downtime and on occasion drank alcohol that had been provided to her by Cheromiah. During one of the evenings, Cheromiah sexually assaulted the victim while she slept.
Immediately after learning of the allegations, Cheromiah was placed on administrative leave and State Police Chief Tim Johnson launched an internal and criminal investigation. After a thorough investigation by the NMSP Investigations Bureau, the case was presented to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office who approved the charges. An arrest warrant was issued for Cheromiah charging him with Criminal Sexual Penetration, Criminal Sexual Contact, and Giving Alcoholic Beverages to a minor.
“I am deeply disturbed to learn that one of our officers has been arrested for sexual assault. The behavior displayed by this individual is completely contrary to the values and integrity that define a New Mexico State Police officer. We take immense pride in upholding the highest standards, and any breach of public trust is entirely unacceptable,” Chief Johnson said. “We stand strong in our commitment to preserving the untarnished reputation of the Black and Gray uniform worn by over 650 dedicated men and women. As a department we stand firm against any officer violating our oath, so we took immediate action to ensure accountability. We are fully committed to safeguarding the public’s trust and fostering unwavering confidence in the New Mexico State Police.”
Cheromiah was hired by NMSP in November of 2022 as part of a lateral recruit academy. He was arrested at the State Police Office in Milan and booked into the CorCivic correctional facility June 9, 2023.