ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A day after resigning from his position as the Albuquerque Public Schools Deputy Superintendent, APS is now reacting to the discovery of Jason Martinez’s hidden criminal record related to accusations that he sexually assaulted children, and that he dodged a district employee background check.
Colorado police records show Martinez is facing six felony counts of “sexual assault on a child” related to a 2013 arrest.
APS superintendent Luis Valentino says he had no idea that Martinez was facing charges.
The former deputy superintendent was praised for his work with computer systems at Denver Public Schools. An online video shows Martinez was even awarded the “District Leader of the Year” honor by a group called “Data Quarterly Campaign.” But APS is now seeing a very different, criminally accused side of Martinez, who had been working with the district for less than three months.
Martinez announced his resignation Thursday, a week after NM Political Report.com revealed emails showing a dispute between Martinez and Chief Financial Officer Don Moya. The dispute was over what company should do in IT assessment of the district.
Martinez stated that he was leaving because of personal and family commitments, however, he made no mention of a criminal past and failure to submit a background check.
According to Denver Police records, Martinez was arrested in July 2013 after multiple claims that he “touched” people under the age of 18. According to an arrest warrant, Martinez watched a minor take a shower at his house in Colorado. In another documented instance, a minor accused Martinez of making them touch his private parts during a trip to Las Vegas. The case is set to go to trial in October.
APS’ new superintendent Luis Valentino hired Martinez. Through a spokesperson, Valentino refused to do an on-camera interview with News 13 on Friday. Valentino released a statement saying he was “surprised” to learn of Martinez’s charges, and “wouldn’t never have” offered Martinez a job had he known about his record.
However, Valentino and APS should have known. Valentino confirmed Friday that he knew Martinez never completed a background check, yet let him continue to work without completing one. APS district policy requires that all district employees get background checks as a condition of their hiring. Valentino says the district will now review the policy to make sure that no employee can get paid without completing a background check.
The Albuquerque teachers union president Ellen Bernstein told News 13 Friday that she had, “no words to express how shocked” the union was about Martinez’s seemingly unknown criminal history, and unenforced background check policy. In an interview Thursday about the turmoil in the district office, Bernstein said teachers are trying to shield their students from the central office’s problems.
“Everybody’s doing their jobs hoping that this turns out well,” said Bernstein.
News 13 has also learned that the Albuquerque School Board will meeting a special session on Sunday evening for an unknown personnel matter, however, the district says the matter is related to superintendent Valentino.