Former univ. president jailed in prostitution case

Pictured: Chris Garcia and David Flory

June 23, 2011 12:39:14 PM PDT
Former University of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia was arrested and jailed Thursday in connection with a multistate, online prostitution ring that authorities say was run by a physics professor from New Jersey.

Garcia was booked on a $35,000 cash or surety bond for investigation of promoting prostitution, tampering with evidence and conspiracy, Metropolitan Detention Center records show.

Detectives served search warrants Thursday at Garcia's home and at his university office. He is now a professor at the school.

Police declined comment on the case until a news conference later in the day, but the Albuquerque Journal said Garcia's arrest was connected to the arrest earlier this week of David Flory, a 68-year-old Fairleigh Dickinson University professor with homes in Manhattan and Santa Fe.

Also Thursday, police said they had arrested a 28-year-old woman on suspicion of threatening another woman who helped police investigate the case. Cara Garrett, 28, was booked for investigation of bribery and intimidation of a witness. Garrett is in custody in Roswell and will be extradited to Albuquerque, police said.

Garcia, 71, is professor emeritus of political science at the University of New Mexico. He served as president of the university from 2002-2003. A distinguished professor and well-known expert on New Mexico politics, Garcia served from 1987-90 as vice president of academic affairs, a position now called provost. He was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1980-86.

Garcia is also and author whose 11 books include "Hispanics and the US Political System" and "Moving into the Mainstream.

In a statement, the university said it learned of the ongoing APD investigation Thursday morning.

"We are and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement," the statement said. "Media reports which state the search warrants were served in connection with the multi-state online prostitution ring are deeply disturbing. It is important for all of us, our entire university family, that we get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible."

Flory posted bond and was released from jail in Albuquerque Wednesday night.

Albuquerque police Lt. William Roseman said Flory ran a website for about three years and had about 1,400 members - about 200 prostitutes and about 1,200 johns.

Flory faces 40 charges of promoting prostitution.

A specialist in elementary particle theory, Flory spent a decade in school administration where, according to his website, he worked on human resource database systems and measuring academic productivity.

Roseman told The Associated Press that Flory's password-protected website, Southwest Companions, had been the subject of a vice investigation for six months after police received tips from prostitutes and johns.

Most of the members were in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area, though some postings originated in Phoenix and Denver. The prostitutes were paid between $80 and $850 for their services, according to the criminal complaint.


AP writer Susan Montoya Bryan contributed to this story.