Utah County deputy molested two girls when he was an Arizona officer, police say

(Photo courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office) Gerald Salcido

A Utah County sheriff’s deputy who reportedly molested two children three decades ago had been a police officer at the time of the alleged assault, Arizona officials said Tuesday.

Two youths told police in 1995 that Gerald Salcido had molested them in 1985, according to Mesa, Ariz., Detective Steve Berry. Salcido was employed as a Mesa police officer at the time of the alleged molestations, from 1980 to 1986. He resigned from the department to start a business, according to Tuesday’s news release from Mesa police.

“We’ve known who he was,” Berry said Monday. “But we didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest, and the case went cold.”

In September, a new witness talked to police and the case was reopened. The new information led to Salcido’s arrest, according to a news release from the Mesa police.

Berry didn’t know whether the Mesa detectives assigned to the case had known that Salcido was hired by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, at least not until they started looking at the case again.

“He’s not been in hiding, but because the status of the case was a closed cold case, no one had particularly been looking for him,” Berry said. “But he was not difficult to find, by any means.”

Salcido, 63, was booked into jail Friday on suspicion of counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and at least one count of child molestation, all felonies, according to a news release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Salcido has been a Utah County deputy for the past 14 years, according to Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon. Salcido is on unpaid administrative leave, Cannon confirmed.

Cannon didn’t know whether the sheriff’s office had known about the allegations when Salcido was hired. In general, he said, the office investigates accusations during background checks. A potential hire is considered to be innocent if charges haven’t been filed, he added.

Salcido was employed with another police agency between his stints at the Arizona agency and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

He is to be extradited to Maricopa County, Ariz.

Salcido is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.