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Convicted Sex Offender Wants State Job Back

7-22-2004 New Mexico:

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The state Supreme Court has ruled that a convicted sex offender who was fired from his job as a state employee can have his job back. Fired from his job as a supervisor with the state Transportation Department, James Sanchez said he couldn't find work anywhere.

"To get blackballed out of any employment was very hard," Sanchez said. "I had to file bankruptcy, came very close to losing my mortgage. It was very hard times." Gov. Bill Richardson fired Sanchez because he is a convicted sex offender accused of sexual misconduct.

But the state Supreme Court recently reversed the governor's decision, saying Sanchez should not only be rehired, but earn back pay. In a statement to Action 7 News, the governor's office said the decision by the administration of former Gov. Gary E. Johnson to hire Sanchez was a mistake and the Richardson administration disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision and vows never to hire a sexual predator.

Nancy Richards, who represents Sanchez, said not only was her client blackballed, but his being fired violated his civil rights. "You can't just say, 'Sex offenders, you can't work for state government.' There are laws involved here," Richards said. ..more.. : by New Mexico Channel

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