A top official at the New Mexico Department of Public Safety who was at the center of sexual harassment and other allegations against state police Chief Pete Kassetas has been transferred to the Corrections Department.
Amy Orlando, a former state prosecutor and longtime associate of Gov. Susana Martinez, is now the deputy Cabinet secretary at the Corrections Department, according to department spokeswoman Ashley Espinoza. Orlando held the same position at the Department of Public Safety.
Espinoza said Monday that Orlando started her new job July 16. Government payroll records list her as deputy corrections secretary for administrative services, earning about $117,000 a year.
Orlando’s job transfer came a month after a lawsuit accusing Kassetas of sexual harassment and other misconduct was filed by a former top deputy to Kassetas, a former head of state police security for Martinez and a state police sergeant.
Orlando isn’t a party to the lawsuit but could be called as a witness against Kassetas should the case go to trial.
The lawsuit’s allegations include claims that Kassetas sent a picture of a man’s testicles to Orlando and that he once told her that boots she was wearing “made him feel all hot and bothered.”
Kassetas also allegedly referred to Orlando and a second attorney with the department as “dumb [expletive] bitches.”
Other allegations in the lawsuit not tied to Orlando include claims that Kassetas pulled his pants down and “mooned” staff and that he used his position to favor female employees that he identified for possible personal relationships.
The chief is accused of discriminating based on gender and sexual orientation and of retaliating against the former and current officers who filed the lawsuit because they reported misconduct at the agency.
A state police representative speaking on behalf of Kassetas declined to comment on the lawsuit when it was filed. A Martinez spokesman said the lawsuit included untruths but that an investigation was underway at the Department of Public Safety.
The Governor’s Office declined Monday to respond when asked whether Orlando’s job transfer was tied to the investigation. It also declined to say what was being investigated and who was conducting the probe.
In response to a request to interview Orlando, Espinoza, the Corrections Department spokeswoman, said she wasn’t in. Another department official said she was traveling.
Orlando was the top deputy to Martinez when the governor was state district attorney for Doña Ana County. After winning the gubernatorial election in 2010, Martinez appointed Orlando to the prosecutor’s job.
Orlando lost an election bid for the position in 2012, and Martinez soon after appointed her to work in juvenile justice services at the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. She later became general counsel and deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety.
Orlando is a director of a nonprofit group formed last year to promote Martinez’s legacy as governor. Martinez leaves office at the end of this year.
Others tied to the nonprofit include Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey, Martinez fundraiser Jessica Perez and Albuquerque lawyer Rob Doughty, a Martinez appointee to the University of New Mexico board of regents. Doughty has done legal work for the Martinez administration and is now representing a group seeking to get a license from the administration for a horse-racing track and slots casino.