FARMINGTON — Rape and kidnapping charges against a San Juan County man were dropped by prosecutors on Wednesday.

Angelo Salazar, 32, was arrested Feb. 16. He was arraigned in district court in April and charged with rape and kidnapping in the first degree.

Salazar was a manager at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Farmington and an employee accused him of raping her at his home in the Mesa Manzano neighborhood near Bloomfield on Dec. 14, 2011.

He resigned from the store after his arrest, said Steven Murphy, Salazar's lawyer.

Murphy said the allegations ruined his client's reputation.

"He lost everything. He was an up-and-coming manager at O'Reilly Auto Parts on the fast track to a district-manager position. He's now working in the oil field," Murphy said. "His reputation has been tarnished because of these false allegations."

Salazar is hoping he can return to his management position at O'Reilly now that charges have been dismissed, Murphy said.

Salazar initially told police he showed the woman his home and watched television with her but denied any sexual contact.

After he was arrested he told police he had consensual sex with the woman and lied to keep the sex private, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.

The woman told police that Salazar grabbed her from behind and forced her into his bedroom where he pinned her to the bed and raped her, according to court documents.

Prosecutors dismissed the case because of a lack of evidence.


"Whether or not a crime occurred is not the only factor we have to consider," O'Brien said. "We were not going to be able to prosecute the case beyond a reasonable doubt."

The state's witness list was small and only included the woman and law enforcement.

Phone records were going to show the woman contacted Salazar after the incident, O'Brien said.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigated the allegations for nearly two months before Salazar was arrested.

Detectives received a search warrant for Salazar's cell phone records and bed sheets, though the possibility of finding DNA was of little use for prosecutors.

Salazar was booked into San Juan County Detention Center on Feb. 16 and bonded out of the facility after 45 minutes, according to court documents.

His case was set for trial in February.

Reached on his cell phone Thursday, Salazar declined to comment.

During Salazar's preliminary hearing in March, Murphy questioned the alleged victim about having a soft drink with Salazar after the incident and then accepting a ride from him back to her car.

The woman reported the rape to the police on Dec. 21, one week after the incident, according to court documents.

"As you prepare for trial, some cases get stronger and some get weaker," O'Brien said. "In this case, it was the accumulation of information" that led to the dismissal.