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No charges filed in John Adams case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools police say they will forward their child abuse investigation of a John Adams Middle School teacher to the District Attorney’s Office for review, but no charges against the teacher have been filed.

The Journal incorrectly reported Thursday that the teacher had been charged with child abuse.

“We feel a crime did occur, but it’s up to the DA’s office to feel the same way,” APS police Deputy Chief Steve Gallegos said Thursday. He said APS has not yet turned their investigation results over to the DA.

An attorney for the teacher said Thursday the teacher did not commit child abuse and that students gave conflicting stories to police.

An APS police report, which is not a charging document, alleges that John Dominguez, a teacher at John Adams Middle School, injured the arm of a student after breaking up a fight between students.

According to the report, witnesses told school police that Dominguez kicked the students while they were fighting on the ground, and pushed one student to the ground after he ran away. The report said the boy’s arm had a large bump above the wrist and “looked to be broken.”

In the report, Dominguez said he chased the boy after the fight and that the boy tripped and fell. Dominguez then picked him up by his shirt.

Gallegos said officers have finished their investigation but are still completing paperwork and typing up witness statements. When they finish, the case will be sent to the district attorney, who will decide whether to prosecute.

APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta told the Journal on Wednesday that APS would file criminal child abuse charges against Dominguez and forward the case to the DA’s Office.

Dominguez is on paid leave from APS pending a disciplinary review.

Amy Sirignano, the attorney representing Dominguez, said Dominguez did not kick the students or push anyone down. She was adamant that child abuse did not occur.

“Our position is, there are all kinds of conflicting statements,” Sirignano said. “These are sixth grade students that were fighting, and they’ve been suspended. It’s in their interest to assign blame to somebody else.”

A letter sent home to John Adams families said teachers are not supposed to get involved in student fights.

“Teachers are instructed to call security and yell for the students to stop when they see a fight happening. While it is a natural instinct for an adult to step in to try to break up a fight, we don’t want any students or staff to get hurt,” according to the letter, which is signed by John Adams principal Holly Beiler-Gurule.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal