BELEN – A special needs educational assistant at Belen High School has been charged with having a sexual relationship with one of her students, sending him provocative pictures and serving him alcohol.
Victoria Baker, 34, of Belen, is charged with six counts of criminal sexual penetration, eight counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of child neglect or abuse and five counts of tampering with evidence.
The Belen Consolidated School district has placed Baker on paid administrative leave.
Baker was arraigned in Magistrate Court in Los Lunas where Magistrate John “Buddy” Sanchez lowered her bond from $300,000 to $100,000 cash or surety, or 10 percent to the court.
Defense attorney Joshua Sanchez asked the judge to grant a third-party release to her father, and said Baker’s two young children are now in the custody of her sister in Colorado.
Judge Sanchez ordered that if Baker was to post bond and be released from jail, she is not allowed to have any electronic communication devices, such as a cellphone or computer.
He also ordered that Baker not communicate with anyone 18 years old or younger.
New Mexico State Police arrested Baker last week after interviewing a 17-year-old Belen High School student, who told them he had been having a sexual relationship with her since November.
According to the criminal complaint, the teenager told the agents he had started a personal relationship with Baker after he got her cellphone number.
He said his first sexual encounter with Baker was in November at her home. The relationship continued through December, and the teen said they had sex about seven more times at her house as well as his cousin’s home.
The student also told police that during his text message conversations with Baker she sent him multiple nude photographs of herself, according to the complaint.
“(The teen) said that during their relationship, he would stay at her house almost every day and on three occasions, he drank Dos Equis beer she provided him and his friend …,” the complaint said.
Baker admitted to the sexual relationship with the student and giving him alcohol during an interview with an investigator, according to the complaint. Baker also admitted to State Police that she had the provocative text messages to the student, but had later deleted them.
Belen Schools Superintendent Ron Marquez said he was told about the allegations against Baker on the morning of Jan. 15. Marquez said an assistant principal at the high school received information from a teacher at BHS about the relationship.
“Our human resources director, Jennifer Brown, went to the high school and immediately placed Ms. Baker on paid administrative leave,” Marquez said.
The superintendent said the parents of the student were contacted, and the district notified and made a referral to the Children, Youth and Families Department. Marquez said it was his understanding that the 17-year-old male is a special needs student.
Baker has worked for the district on and off for about 10 years, he said.
School officials said they conducted a background check on Baker but they said they could not say whether they found any red flags.
Assistant Editor Julia M. Dendinger contributed to this story.