Authorities seek school administrator charged with sex abuse

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Albuquerque educator on the run after Denver child sex abuse charges revealed.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A longtime school administrator from Denver brought the professional credentials to become a high-level administrator in New Mexico’s largest school district this summer. Governor Susana Martinez has ordered a review of background check policies in all New Mexico school districts after a man with pending criminal charges was hired into a top administrative post in Albuquerque.

Martinez has tasked compliance investigators from the state education and public safety departments with launching the across-the-board review of personnel policies. But there was more to his background: an arrest record that includes child sex abuse charges and a domestic violence accusation that only emerged publicly after his recent resignation from his post last week in Albuquerque. The day after his resignation from APS, New Mexico Political Report found that Martinez had been hiding from the school district the fact that he was facing a trial in Denver in October for four counts of sexual assault of a child.

Now it’s come to light that Martinez, who worked previously in Public Schools, was arrested in Colorado in 2013 on suspicion of sexually abusing two children from that state. APS dropped the ball, and it’s completely unacceptable,” Governor Martinez said. “I am ordering this immediate review because our parents need to know that our districts are following the law, are conducting background checks, and providing a safe environment at all times for our children. His appointment to head the Albuquerque School District’s instruction and technology division as deputy superintendent in June has prompted outrage over how a public employee could be hired to assist in leading a district serving some 90,000 students with accusations as serious as those Martinez is facing. The state attorney general said his office would look into why Martinez was hired in June before a background check was completed, while parents began circulating an online petition this week calling for Superintendent Luis Valentino’s resignation. According to an August 25 report from ABC News in Denver, “Martinez was forbidden to leave Colorado under his bail terms and failed to report any required address changes.” And now a Denver court wants him back in Colorado and has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Susana Martinez announced Tuesday that the state Public Safety Department and Public Education Department will conduct a “thorough compliance review” to make sure each district is performing “timely” background checks of its employees. Denver District Attorney’s spokesperson Lynn Kimbrough told the Journal Tuesday that prosecutors in her office have been in contact with Martinez’s attorney, Leonard Martinez of Denver, to arrange for the arrest. Meanwhile, the Attorney General for New Mexico, Hector Balderas, is launching an investigation as to how Martinez secured the coveted position of deputy superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools in June after being charged with two felony counts of child sexual abuse in Colorado, according to The Portland Press Herald.

By taking the job in Albuquerque, Martinez violated terms in his pretrial release, which required him to receive permission from the court before traveling outside of Colorado, let alone moving permanently to take a high profile public job. The compliance effort will also identify whether any school districts have failed to conduct criminal background checks on personnel, and the districts will be directed into immediate compliance, officials said. According to NBC News, Martinez’s 2013 arrest in Denver involved the alleged sexual abuse of two children that were under his care during a trip to Las Vegas. A lawyer for Karen Rudys, the district’s interim assistant superintendent for human resources, said Valentino was informed multiple times about Martinez refusing to complete his background check but ignored those concerns.

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