Soto arraigned on child molestation charges

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Ed Soto

A Socorro man pleaded not guilty to molesting his daughter during his arraignment in 7th Judicial District Court on Sept. 26. His $100,000 bond set in Magistrate Court was changed from cash to cash or surety.

A Socorro man pleaded not guilty to molesting his daughter during his arraignment in 7th Judicial District Court on Sept. 26. His $100,000 bond set in Magistrate Court was changed from cash to cash or surety.

Ed Soto is charged with one count of first-degree felony criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and four counts of second-degree felony criminal sexual contact with a child under 13.

When Judge Matthew Reynolds offered to read the charges, Soto’s court-appointed attorney Katherine Riley said Soto was aware of the charges and the penalties he could face if convicted.

According to the New Mexico Compilation Commission’s website, a first-degree felony is punishable by up to 18 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Second-degree felony sexual offenses committed against a child are punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $12,500 for each charge.

Riley reviewed the conditions of release outlined by Socorro Magistrate Court Judge Jim Naranjo, which require a $100,000 cash-only bond. She noted these are the first criminal charges she can see that have been brought against Soto, and asked the bond be changed to cash or surety. Surety means Soto could put up 10 percent of the money.

Riley also suggested fitting Soto with an ankle bracelet as part of his release.

Assistant 7th Judicial District Attorney Robert Cates discouraged relaxing the conditions of release. At the last hearing in Magistrate Court, which was Aug. 13, Cates received information that the woman Soto had been living with before he was arrested had expressed that Soto is no longer welcome at her home.

Cates added that other charges have been filed against Soto as well, by district attorneys in Utah and in Silver City.

Riley then told the court Soto just informed her that he couldn’t come up with 10 percent of a $100,000 bond. She asked the judge to make the bond $50,000 cash or surety. She added Soto can stay with his mother, but another person in court said Soto’s mother may have moved out of town.

Reynolds said he will change the bond to cash or surety, but the amount will remain at $100,000.

Soto told the judge his mother does still live in Socorro, and she had only been visiting relatives out of town. He asked the judge to make the bond $50,000.

“I have already made my ruling,” Reynolds responded.

Reynolds said the bond will remain at $100,000 and Soto can post 10 percent, but only if his mother appears in court and only if she is still living in Socorro. Soto’s mother had attended the preliminary hearing for the case in Magistrate Court, but she was not present at the District Court arraignment.

Soto was originally charged on five counts of criminal sexual penetration and two counts of criminal sexual contact against his child, who was between the ages of 4 and 6 at the time the molestation reportedly occurred, according to the criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court in June.

The charges were amended at the Aug. 13 preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court after the child and her mother gave testimony. Testifying before the judge, the attorneys, the accused, family members and the public in court, the now 9-year-old child did not list all of the instances of abuse she had previously alleged during safe house interviews, which had been described in the criminal complaint.