- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico Department of Corrections officials announced Friday that they pulled female inmates from a halfway house named in a sexual-assault lawsuit.

Corrections spokeswoman Alex Tomlin said officials took 31 women out of the New Life Recovery House in Alamogordo and have launched an internal investigation.

“After the allegations were made, we made the move.” Tomlin said. “And if we find any criminal evidence, we will forward the information to the proper law enforcement authorities.”

Three women have sued a New Mexico motel owner and the director of the halfway house, saying they were repeatedly sexually assaulted at work and threated with being sent back to prison when they complained.

The women say they were assigned by the halfway house’s director to work at a nearby Super 8 Motel where they were harassed, subjected to lewd conduct and inappropriately touched by owner.

Previous random inspections of the facility found no wrongdoing, Tomlin said.

The owner of the house declined to comment.

Motel owner Victor Chevdawala, who is named in the lawsuit, also declined to comment.

The women seek an unspecified amount for damages in the lawsuit filed last week in state district court in Las Cruces.

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