SAN JUAN – Allegations of domestic abuse and sexual misconduct against three senior officers are further undermining the prestige of the Puerto Rican police amid a surge in violent crime.
The island’s police superintendent, Jose Figueroa Sancha, confirmed Thursday that two of his most-trusted subordinates, Richard Nazario and Juan Sergio Rubin, face accusations from their respective spouses.
Figueroa Sancha acknowledged he is especially troubled because he appointed both men to their current posts, but vowed that his close working relationships with Nazario and Rubin would not deter him from taking appropriate disciplinary or legal actions against them.
Rubin, erstwhile top cop in San Juan, is accused by his wife, police Sgt. Nora Ramos, of psychological abuse that included telling her: “You’re a pig, You stink.”
She also says that Rubin often spit at her.
While Rubin’s attorney, Axel Vizcarra, claims Ramos fabricated the allegations after his client asked for a divorce, Figueroa Sancha deemed the accusations serious enough to suspend his long-time colleague.
Richard Nazario, currently in charge of police in Caguas and the surrounding region, is accused by his wife of psychological and – according to unconfirmed press accounts – physical abuse.
Figueroa Sancha said he will wait for the outcome of a hearing set for Thursday before deciding whether to suspend Nazario.
“Both Rubin and Richard Nazario are officers with tremendous experiences, officers who have given their all in recent years, but there are some charges they have to answer,” the police superintendent said.
The most serious situation, however, is that of former San Juan municipal police chief Hilton Cordero, accused by his teenage daughter of producing and possessing child pornography and of molesting her and one of her friends.
Facing up to eight years in prison if convicted, Cordero is free on bail of $130,000.
The scandals involving police brass come as Puerto Rican authorities seem unable to tame the criminal violence that has claimed nearly 400 lives so far this year.
Police say most of the mayhem is linked to battles between gangs over control of drug corners. EFE