Sex abuse charges against ex-school official prompt review

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. A Denver judge has revoked bail for a former Denver school leader who violated conditions of his bond in a child molestation case when he moved to Albuquerque to take a top position at the Albuquerque school district.

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.

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. Valentino, the Albuquerque superintendent, was selected for the superintendent post in June, and the school board plans to vote Thursday on whether he should be dismissed. “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”. The judge also revoked two $50,000 bonds posted by Martinez for his 2013 arrest and a domestic violence arrest in which he allegedly struck two men in a Denver nightclub district in January. “APS dropped the ball and it’s completely unacceptable”, Martinez said.

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. 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. She could not provide additional details. “As a standard practice, we have reached out to his attorney to let him know of the motion and warrant”, Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough wrote in an email Tuesday morning.

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.

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