Progreso Police Department fires officer accused of sexual misconduct

The Progreso Police Department fired an officer last week amid a sexual assault investigation.

Progreso police Chief Alberto Rodriguez said he fired police Officer Matthew Sepulveda last week. Sepulveda is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a person in custody.

20190709 MatthewSepulvedaDetails about the incident, including when Sepulveda allegedly had sexual contact with the person in custody and what, exactly, happened between them, remain unclear. It’s illegal for law enforcement officers to engage in any sexual activity with a person in custody.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Rodriguez said.

The Progress Times couldn’t reach Sepulveda for comment.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident with assistance from the FBI. Investigators executed a search warrant at the police department on July 2.

“The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency, so I will need to refer you to them but I can confirm the FBI was assisting,” an FBI spokeswoman said in a statement. “We have no additional information at this time.”

Chief Deputy Mario Lopez said the Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation that involves allegations of sexual assault by a peace officer and official oppression at the Progreso Police Department. He declined to identify the person involved, concerned about compromising the investigation.

Sepulveda worked at the Hidalgo County jail — where he served as a detention sergeant — before joining the Progreso Police Department.

He resigned from the Sheriff’s Office amid an internal investigation.

“On September 12, 2018, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office initiated an internal investigation on Detention Sergeant Matthew Sepulveda based on a report of officer misconduct, specifically that Sgt. Sepulveda used his department issued camera to record a supervisory counseling without the consent of all parties involved,” according to a copy of the internal investigation released under the Texas Public Information Act. “The internal investigation produced a preponderance of evidence to prove an incident of officer misconduct occurred. However, prior to Sgt. Sepulveda being served with the Internal Investigation notification, he resigned.”

After he resigned, the Sheriff’s Office investigated an allegation that Sepulveda and a detention corporal provided drugs to inmates. The Sheriff’s Office demoted the corporal for related misconduct but didn’t interview Sepulveda about the allegations.

Check back for updates.

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