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HR Head: APS Superintendent knew of missing background check

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The head of Albuquerque Public Schools’ human resources department is disputing Superintendent Luis Valentino’s claims that he was unaware of former deputy superintendent Jason Martinez’s incomplete background check, saying she told him six times that Martinez had not submitted to the check.

Such a check would have turned up child sex abuse charges in Denver.

UPDATE: More details from the letter Aug. 23, 2015

In a letter obtained by the Journal on Saturday, APS interim assistant superintendent for HR Karen Rudys stated she “raised the issue (of Martinez’s incomplete background check) directly” with Valentino “on or about” June 24, July 2, July 8, July 15, Aug. 11 and Aug. 19.

Until the Aug. 19 communication, “each time, Dr. Valentino deflected her by simply stating that he ‘was aware of the issue,'” Rudys said in the letter.

The letter said that on Aug. 19, Valentino responded by telling Rudys that Martinez had resigned.

Rudys’ account of the extensive communication is far different from the superintendent’s account, described Thursday through APS spokesman Rigo Chavez. Chavez said Valentino first heard about the background check problem a few weeks after Martinez started his APS job in June, and that Valentino addressed it with Martinez at that time. Chavez said Valentino was then told again on Aug. 19.

The background check would have turned up serious legal problems for Martinez, who was hand-picked for the $160,000-a-year job by Valentino.

Martinez is facing six counts of sexual assault on a child by a person of trust in Denver for abuse that allegedly took place between May 2010 and June 2013.

Rudys in her letter states that the district does have a policy to prevent such a scandal from happening, but it “was circumvented by APS leadership.”

“Ms. Rudys believes it is important for APS leadership and the Board to know that the process to prevent the type of scandal that has just occurred was willfully circumvented by Jason Martinez,” her letter said, “and, further, such circumvention was aided by Dr. Valentino, whether knowingly or unkowingly.”

The board is scheduled to meet today at 5 p.m. in executive session to discuss issues involving the superintendent.

UPDATE: More details from the letter Aug. 23, 2015