A woman who works at an Albuquerque, New Mexico, treatment center for troubled youth reportedly had a sexual relationship with a teen who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his parents and three younger siblings.
Amber Lucero, a 35-year-old psych technician, is charged with sexual contact of a minor by a person in a position of authority for her alleged affair with now 19-year-old Nehemiah Griego, the Associated Press reports.
Lucero works at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center. Griego was receiving therapy after he murdered his family in 2013, at the age of 15.
Griego told investigators their relationship began towards the end of 2014 when he was 17. They would reportedly take walks, hold hands and kiss at the facility, and he said he had touched Lucero’s breasts over her clothing but the two never had sexual intercourse.
They purposefully avoided the facility’s cameras during their relationship, KOAT reports.
After Griego was moved to another facility, the two exchanged letters.
When Griego’s family found out about the relationship they told administrators at the treatment center, the AP notes.
During an interview with police, Lucero said she thought she loved Griego and "weakened" when he asked her to kiss him. She added that she overstepped her boundaries by becoming "too much of a friend with him and caring too much."
Lucero has since been removed from her position.
"DOH placed the employee on leave [June 13] and we are moving forward with termination," State Health Department spokesman David Morgan told the AP in an email. "We have also been cooperating with state police on their criminal investigation and will continue to do so."
Lucero’s father told KOAT that the charges against his daughter are "contrived."
As part of a plea deal in regards to the murders, Griego will be in state custody and receive therapy until he is 21.
During her first court appearance on June 14, Lucero was ordered not to have contact with Griego or visit the treatment center.