Published: 2:58 pm, Thu. Jun. 7th, 2012Updated: 4:57 pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors said Thursday that they were preparing to go before a grand jury in the case of a former University of New Mexico president accused of helping run an online prostitution ring.
Kayla Anderson, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, said they anticipated going before jurors “very soon” but declined to elaborate.
Charges were initially dismissed after police arrested F. Chris Garcia, 71, and professor David Flory, who teaches physics at a private New Jersey school, in June 2011.
Authorities, who found pornographic videos and sex toys in Garcia’s office after his arrest, said they needed time to sort through data from a seized computer. Garcia had faced allegations of promoting prostitution, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Defense attorney Robert Gorence said Thursday that he planned to talk to Garcia if he felt it was appropriate. Gorence has said his client’s only mistake was accessing the website.
The men were among seven people suspected of overseeing a prostitution website called Southwest Companions. Investigators said the prostitution ring had a membership of 14,000, including 200 prostitutes.
Members paid anywhere from $200 for a sex act to $1,000 for a full hour. Prostitutes were paid with cash, not through the website, according to police.
There was no indication that other universities or students were involved. Police said it was coincidental that two of the top members were academics.
Garcia, who was dismissed from his university position after his arrest, is a professor emeritus of political science and was interim UNM president from 2002 to 2003. He is an expert on New Mexico politics and an author of 11 books.