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Ex-coach charged with rape back in jail after improper travels

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Domnick Baca, a former assistant basketball coach at Pecos High charged with raping two female students, is taken into custody after a Santa Fe court hearing Tuesday for violating his pre-trial house arrest . (Edmundo Carrillo/ Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — A former Pecos High School assistant basketball coach accused of raping two female students now will have to wait in jail for his trial after a judge said he’d shown an “absolute disdain” for his court-ordered conditions of pre-trial release.

Dominick Baca, 30, was remanded into custody Tuesday after state District Court Judge Jason Lidyard found that Baca willfully violated his house arrest orders by taking off his GPS monitor and traveling around northern New Mexico, apparently for fun, sports and recreation.

Baca’s violations, previously reported in court documents, include going to a Super Bowl party, a Santa Fe tattoo shop, an Albuquerque Hooters restaurants and stops at both Santa Fe Prep and Pecos High School. At Tuesday’s hearing, it was shown that he also participated as a player in basketball tournaments.

Baca even appeared in a team photo in the Taos News after his team won a charity basketball tournament in late March. He was not supposed to leave his Santa Fe home except to go to work and in any case was not leave Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.

“It shows absolute disdain for the court’s order,” Lidyard said of Baca’s travels. Lidyard is hearing the case in Santa Fe because all the judges in Las Vegas, N.M., District Court, where a Pecos case would normally handled, have recused themselves.

The judge was concerned that Baca went to the state high school basketball tournament in March in Albuquerque. “That’s the one population you weren’t supposed to interact with,” Lidyard said.

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Former Pecos High assistant basketball coach Dominick Baca, left, charged with raping two female students, sits in court Tuesday with attorney Tom Clark. Baca was remanded to custody for violating pre-trial house arrest orders.(Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Baca was recently charged with 25 counts of violating house arrest and tampering with his ankle monitor, and more charges are expected to be filed.

He had been placed on house arrest after criminal sexual penetration and criminal sexual contact charges were filed against him in April 2018 for allegedly having sex with two female students, one of whom was 14 at the time, while he was a Pecos High School staff member and assistant boys basketball coach.

Tom Clayton of the Las Vegas District Attorney’s Office said Pecos boys basketball head coach Ira Harge said in a recent sworn deposition in a related civil case that he saw Baca at the state basketball tournament at the Pit in Albuquerque in March.

GPS data showed that Baca was at an Albuquerque Red Robin restaurant for five hours on the final day of the state tournament, even though witnesses said they saw him at the Pit that day. Clayton maintained that Baca removed his ankle monitor at the restaurant. “We have him figuring out a way to deceive the system,” Clayton said.

Clayton also said that Baca had been playing in a Las Vegas city basketball league, in San Miguel County, and that team rosters and game score sheets prove it. He also said witnesses saw him at the games. Photos of him playing basketball show that Baca took his ankle monitor off, Clayton said.

Baca’s attorney, Tom Clark, said it took seven months for prosecutors to accuse Baca of the pre-trial violations, even though he’s alleged to have violated conditions all the way back to November, and that Lidyard should consider that. Lidyard wasn’t persuaded and said house arrest was intended to keep Baca away from minors.

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