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Filing: Coach says on calls he’s willing to plea to sex charges

SANTA FE — A former high school basketball coach who is accused of having sex with two female students while he was a school employee says he’s willing to admit guilt in exchange for not having to do prison time, according to a new court filing.

Dominick Baca, 30, a former assistant Pecos High School basketball coach who helped the Panthers win two state championships, is currently in the San Miguel County jail as he awaits trial on three charges of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two charges of criminal sexual contact of a minor for having sex with two female Pecos High students.

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Dominick Baca, right, sits with his attorney Tom Clark during a hearing on his conditions of release in June. Baca, a former assistant basketball coach at Pecos High School, is charged with criminal sexual penetration (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

One of the girls was 14 at the time, and he allegedly groped and tried to kiss the other girl, who was 17, in his school office.

Prosecutors in the Las Vegas District Attorneys Office are asking a judge to allow them to admit into evidence recorded jail phone calls where Baca discusses pleading guilty to the crimes. Chief Deputy District Attorney Thomas Clayton quotes Baca in a motion he filed Tuesday. Inmates are told that phone calls are recorded, the motion notes.

Baca says on the recordings that he’s going to have to plead guilty to some charges.

“I hope (Baca’s defense attorney Tom Clark) (expletive) does his job good bro,” Baca is quoted as saying to another man. “I hope he figures something out bro, cuz. I’ll do the probation time, and I’ll do whatever I have to do outside bro, I just don’t want to do anything in here dude.”

Clayton argues that Baca’s statements can be used against him.

“As set forth above, defendant stated he is willing to plead guilty to sex offense charges pending before him,” Clayton wrote. “These are not statements made in plea negotiations are therefore not protected. To the contrary, his statements to family and friends acknowledge his guilt and desire to minimize his exposure — setting forth his strategy to address the charges.”

Baca is also quoted as telling a friend that what he’s accused of doing is only a crime because he was a school employee. It’s not clear which victim he’s referring to.

“Like if I wasn’t a school employee it wouldn’t even be a crime, know what I mean,” Baca says. “… So it sucks like… I mean, it is what it is. I have to accept responsibility, which, I’m willing to do it. I have to do it.”

Baca was booked into the jail on June 11 after a judge found that he willfully violated his house arrest pending trial by taking off his ankle monitor and travelling around northern New Mexico, apparently for fun and recreation. He is accused of participating in several basketball tournaments and was reportedly seen at the state high school basketball championships at the Pit in Albuquerque in March.

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