Aragon agrees to six-month restraining order, denies allegations
Former Los Lunas Municipal Judge Jeff Aragon agreed to a stipulated civil restraining order July 27 that says he cannot contact his former court clerk after she claimed he allegedly harassed her.
The clerk, Denise LeDoux, filed a temporary restraining order in the 13th Judicial District Court last month, claiming her mental health suffered due to a hostile work environment while working with Aragon.
Aragon was elected in 2002 and resigned effective Friday, July 20, amid separate allegations from the New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission he abused his power on about 20 instances from 2010 to 2012.
Special Commissioner Joe Arite signed an order that says Aragon must not contact LeDoux at anytime through communications via telephone, email, text message or fax for a period of six months.
Aragon is also prohibited from contacting LeDoux at her home and work place and must stay at least 100 yards away from her at all times.
The order was stipulated, meaning that both parties agree to the conditions rather than a fact-finding order that would have likely included testimony from LeDoux.
The order does not contain standard findings that say the former judge committed acts that seriously harm or endanger the plaintiff.
Arite told Aragon he is prohibited from sending messages through any third party that would include friends and family.
LeDoux's attorney, Gregory Gahan, asked Arite if the court could prohibit Aragon's family members from contacting LeDoux.
"Contact (from Aragon) is prohibited directly or indirectly," Arite said. "Indirectly, meaning no contact through third parties and things like that.
"As for the court ordering something of other people who are not defendants to this, I don't think the court can unless the individuals are defendants themselves."
Aragon, who represented himself, initially hesitated to sign the agreement after Arite recessed to allow both parties to sign the civil restraining order.
"I'm concerned about my record," Aragon told Arite. "Is this going to stay on my record forever?"
Arite responded, "Sir, I can't give you legal advice. All I will say is that this is a civil case, OK. This is delineated as a civil case. It is not a domestic case… I am here to simply decide."
In an interview following the hearing, Aragon said LeDoux made up the allegations to protect her at-will position as court clerk when she found out he was planning on resigning.
"(Aragon) has forced me to leave my home as well as Valencia County for fear of running into (him)," the complaint states. "I am in fear for my safety as well as my child's safety."
He said he doesn't pose a threat to LeDoux or her family.
"Never will I ever be a threat to her or her child, who is actually a 20-year-old young adult," Aragon said.
In the temporary restraining order, LeDoux claimed she was forced to change her phone number "for fear of harassing text messages and or phone calls from Jeff Aragon insisting that I turn in my resignation."
He said he never sent any threatening message to LeDoux over the almost seven years the two worked together.
Aragon said he "suggested" LeDoux resign because a resignation would look better on her resume to help her get her next job after he stepped down.
"In my opinion, a resignation would look better for her than a termination if the new judge didn't require her services," Aragon said.
The former judge said he and LeDoux had verbal "disagreements" in the past over the clerk's clerical skills, which he claimed "needed improvement."
"I am deeply saddened by what has gone on and how it has ended," Aragon said. "I don't appreciate the allegations."
Through her attorney, LeDoux declined to comment on the matter.
Aragon would not comment about the separate New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission allegations.
-- Email the author at email@example.com.