Nearly five years after being fired for botching sex assault cases he was tasked with investigating, former San Antonio Police Department detective Kenneth Valdez has avoided prison time.
Valdez, who blamed personal issues and being disorganized for mishandling approximately 130 cases, was sentenced to four years probation Thursday in his felony tampering case.
He also received $1,375 in fines and court costs, Bexar County court records show.
A grand jury in October 2018 indicted Valdez on four counts of tampering with evidence and four counts of tampering with government records.
The charges against Valdez included allegations that he intentionally concealed video recordings from two cases, a phone in another case and a DNA swab in a fourth case, while also repeatedly making false entries in SAPD’s case management system.
Prosecutors moved forward with a single count of tampering with evidence during a court hearing last month, records show.
Valdez pleaded guilty to the single count, a court official confirmed Friday.
Valdez’s failures led to six-month review
A six-month independent review of the San Antonio Police Department’s Special Victims Unit completed in April 2018 found that Valdez had acted alone in the mismanagement of his caseload.
SVU investigates some of the city’s most sensitive crimes, including sexual assault, family violence and human trafficking.
The review, launched in October 2017, was conducted by eight attorneys who examined more than 12,000 closed felony and misdemeanor SVU cases.
The 22-page audit found that, outside of Valdez, there was no discernible pattern of detectives mishandling SVU cases.
At least four of the cases assigned to Valdez, however, could no longer be prosecuted.
“Look, I’m not going to make or confirm any statements that have to do with ‘gee, I’m overwhelmed, gee I’m burned out.’ I’m not going to affirm any of those statements. If you’re in that unit, you’ve got a responsibility to investigate the cases you’re assigned to,” police Chief William McManus said in 2018 as the audit’s findings were announced.
KSAT Investigates has reached out to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and Valdez’s listed defense attorney but has so far not been provided official statements from them.
A city of San Antonio spokeswoman declined to comment Friday afternoon.
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