(LA JUNTA, Colo.) — A La Junta City Councilman is accused of trying to spy on young girls while they were changing clothes, and he is now he is under investigation.
At a City Council meeting on Monday, April 17, Councilman Paul Velasquez said he had received letters regarding the conduct of Councilman Ed Vela. The letters described an encounter between Vela and Synchronicity Dance Productions when they were invited to a La Junta City Council meeting.
The letters allege that during a visit by the dance team to a meeting on Feb. 21, 2023, the dancers needed to change into their costumes and were allowed to use an office next to the chamber room. The letter goes on to state that two adults with the production were standing watch at the door to make sure no one entered while the girls were changing, when someone knocked on the door.
The adult opened the door to make sure it wasn’t another dancer, but it was Vela at the door, saying he needed to grab a box of tissues from the room. The adult told Vela that the girls were changing, and the letter then states that Vela was “undeterred,” so the adult closed the door, grabbed the tissues, and opened the door to hand the tissues back to Vela, and the letters allege that Vela “made no attempt” to avert his eyes or look away from the girls in the room who were changing.
“I did not feel this is normal or acceptable behavior from a grown man, let alone a man on our City Council,” the letter reads.
Vela was given an opportunity to respond, saying “all this is a big lie.”
Vela defended himself by saying the door was never open far enough for him to see into the room, and he was not interested in looking into the room, only in retrieving the tissues because of a side effect of medication he takes.
Following the presentation of the accusations and Vela’s response, City Council voted 4 – 2, with one abstaining, to pursue an investigation. The La Junta City Attorney said an attorney would be sought to conduct the investigation.