August 21, 2015

APS deputy superintendent who resigned is facing trial for sexual assault of a child

Mugshot of Jason Martinez from 2013.

Outgoing Albuquerque Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez had a reason to delay his criminal background check.

On July 18, 2013, Denver police arrested Martinez, whose full name is Timothy Jason Martinez, on charges of sexual assault on a child from a position of trust and other felony charges. The case is still ongoing, with a trial date set for Oct. 9 in District Court in Denver.

Martinez faces four counts, all of which allege sexual assault of a child.

“They are all felonies,” said Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough. “Class three and class four felonies.”

It’s unclear how many children in total Martinez is accused of assaulting.

According to Martinez’ arrest affidavit, Martinez sexually assaulted a minor under the age of 15 who was in his care multiple times between May 1, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2012. One incident allegedly occurred at Martinez’ house in Denver while another allegedly happened while the two were traveling in Las Vegas.

The documents did not include information on all the alleged assaults. The arrest affidavit says all the alleged assaults occurred between May 1, 2012 and June 14, 2013.

Through a spokesman, APS Superintendent Luis Valentino said he “certainly never would have offered Mr. Martinez a job with the district” had he known about Martinez’ arrest.

Martinez abruptly resigned from APS on Thursday. APS spokesman Rigo Chavez said the resignation came one day after Valentino learned Martinez still hadn’t completed a required criminal background check and fingerprinting.

Chavez said this followed an incident two weeks into Martinez’ APS tenure when Valentino initially learned that the background check was not completed. At that time, Martinez assured Valentino he would complete the background check, according to Chavez.

Chavez added he wasn’t sure if this was the reason why Martinez resigned. Earlier, APS said that Martinez resigned of his own accord over “personal and family commitments.”

On Thursday, Valentino thanked Martinez for his service and praised him as a “valuable member of the district leadership team.” Chavez said that no one at APS was aware of the charges until New Mexico Political Report reached out to APS for comment.

Now, the school district could change how it hires new employees.

Jason Martinez via LinkedIn

Jason Martinez via LinkedIn

“APS is currently reviewing all its hiring processes, including the addition of a policy that would not allow an employee to be paid before completing a background check,” Chavez told New Mexico Political Report.

Chavez said Martinez did not show up to work on Friday, the last day of his work. Chavez did not have contact information for Martinez and said he did not know who is legally representing him.

The revelation comes after two weeks of scandal at APS that started with a mistaken text sent from Valentino to one of his administrators. Subsequently disclosed emails showed Martinez clashing with this administrator, Chief Financial Officer Don Moya, over potential business with a vendor.

Moya was placed on administrative leave two weeks ago. APS has declined to say why.

Now the focus will likely shift to how APS missed Martinez’ past issues. A special school board meeting is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. where the school board is scheduled to discuss a “limited personnel matter relating to the superintendent” in a closed door session.

Before coming to APS, Martinez worked from 2010-2012 in Denver Public Schools. After that, he worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Valentino hired Martinez earlier this summer.

Read Martinez’ 2013 arrest affidavit below (Warning: the document contains graphic descriptions).