August 24, 2015

AG to look into APS ‘safety breach’

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced on Monday that he will look into the “safety breach” at Albuquerque Public Schools.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo.

“I am very concerned about the allegations that safety protocols were breached at APS, I’ve decided to initiate a safety assessment of the matter, and I will be communicating with the district today,” Balderas said in a statement.

The school district has been at the center of controversy for weeks.

The “safety breach” part appears to come from former deputy superintendent Jason Martinez. Martinez is facing trial for multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child, ranging from sexual abuse of a child from a position of trust to sexual abuse of a child-pattern of abuse.

In all, Martinez is facing four felony counts of sexual abuse in Colorado, where Martinez previously worked. Martinez was charged in 2013.

KOB-TV reported that Martinez also faces a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge from this year.

The school district never knew this, because a required background check on Martinez was never completed. APS superintendent Luis Valentino was told about the incomplete background check six times, according to a letter from an HR official at APS.

State law and district policy both require a background check for all employees. Another employee hired at the same time as Martinez completed a background check.

The APS board of education met for over five hours behind closed doors on Sunday night to discuss Valentino. The board did not make a decision, but scheduled another meeting for Thursday morning.

Martinez was picked by Valentino to be deputy superintendent. Martinez had a $160,000 annual salary with the district.

Updated: A DA’s office spokeswoman in Denver previously told New Mexico Political Report there were six charges. The spokeswoman told New Mexico Political Report on Monday, Aug. 24 that two were dismissed because they were duplicative. The story has been updated to reflect this.