ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Less than a week ago, Jason Martinez was the hand-picked deputy superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools, making $160,000 a year.
Late Monday, prosecutors in Denver were seeking a warrant for his arrest after discovering he left Colorado to take the job.
Turns out the man brought in by Superintendent Luis Valentino as the new No. 2 administrator at New Mexico’s biggest school district is facing felony charges in not one, but two separate criminal cases in Colorado.
One involves four counts of child sexual assault of victims ages 8 and 13.
And the Journal learned Monday of a separate felony domestic incident this year involving a man described in court records as Martinez’s boyfriend.
The criminal charges could land him in prison for more than 20 years.
He had been released on $50,000 bail in each case and ordered to comply with certain restrictions – including getting permission from court officials to leave the state.
A motion filed by the Denver District Attorney’s Office late Monday says that prosecutors learned from the Albuquerque news media on Friday that Martinez had not only left Colorado, “but in fact was hired as Deputy Superintendent for Albuquerque Public Schools.”
“The People have grave concerns about the Defendant’s inability to comply with court orders,” the DA’s Office motion says. “To leave the state for several months and to begin a new job that requires daily interaction with children and families is a complete and utter defiance of the letter and spirit of conditions of bond that the Defendant agreed to on July 18, 2013 and Feb. 20, 2015.”
The district attorney’s motion filed with the court Monday seeks to revoke Martinez’s bond for his failure to comply with conditions of his release.
A court employee in the office of Colorado 2nd Judicial District Judge Brian Whitney said late Monday that the judge was expected to sign a warrant for Martinez’s arrest.
The DA’s Office also asked the judge to hold a hearing after Martinez is arrested, setting a higher bail and barring Martinez from being in contact with children under 18 years old.
Neither Martinez nor his two defense attorneys in Denver could be reached for comment Monday.
Martinez, whose hiring was announced in May, resigned last week amid disclosures that he had not completed a required background check – a check that included fingerprinting and that most likely would have turned up his pending criminal cases.
Valentino, who said he met Martinez at a Latino educators conference, has said he was unaware of the charges and would not have hired him had he known.
Domestic violence case
Martinez, 50, who is listed by his full name, Timothy Jason Martinez, in Denver court records, is facing a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon causing injury stemming from an arrest by Denver police in January of this year and a misdemeanor assault charge.
That’s in addition to the 2013 felony case involving charges of sexual assault of a child.
“There was some surprise that this particular individual was working out of state,” DA’s Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough told the Journal.
The district attorney’s motion says that Martinez agreed not to leave Colorado without first obtaining written consent from the pretrial services program.
A jury trial is set for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 9 on the child sex abuse charges, which involve two victims, an 8-year-old and a 13-year-old. A witness in the case is the 7-year-old brother of the younger victim, the district attorney’s motion says.
While free on bond in that case, Martinez was arrested on assault charges on Jan. 25 of this year related to an altercation involving his boyfriend, the motion says.
Martinez was mandated for “enhanced supervision” after the 2015 domestic violence case was filed, court records show. He was again instructed not to leave Colorado without written consent from the surety of the bond and the court.
In that case, Martinez was charged with using his automobile as a deadly weapon in an assault at Broadway and East 10th Avenue in Denver. He also was charged with misdemeanor assault in the third degree.
An arrest affidavit says that two victims reported having been assaulted by Martinez during the 1 a.m. altercation in a business area south of downtown Denver.
The first victim, age 26, was reported as having had an “intimate relationship” with Martinez that lasted about a year. The second victim, age 55, told Denver police that Martinez struck him with the side-view mirror of his black Subaru, causing a bruise to his buttocks, and allegedly struck him with a closed fist.
Martinez struck the younger man at least once and kicked him after he fell to the ground, the affidavit says. The second victim told Denver police Martinez was “possibly jealous.”
The case was assigned to the Denver Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit “upon the discovery of the intimate relationship between the suspect (Martinez) and victim #1.”
The district attorney’s motion says that on Monday, an investigator with the DA’s Office contacted Toni Cordova, chief of staff for APS. Cordova, along with Martinez, was brought in by Valentino when he took over as superintendent in June.
The motion says that Cordova verified Martinez has been employed by APS since July 1.
“Needless to say, the Defendant failed to seek permission of the Court prior to leaving Colorado to go to New Mexico and seek employment and set up residence,” the motion says.
Martinez was “well aware that he needed to seek this Court’s permission in order to leave Colorado,” the motion says.
His failure to notify his pretrial services officers within 24 hours of changing his residence or phone number was another violation. Pretrial services officials had no knowledge he was living out of state, the DA’s Office motion says.
Martinez is a former Denver Public Schools administrator and school principal who left the school district in 2012.
An amended set of charges filed in July 2013 by Denver prosecutors alleges a pattern of sexual abuse that began in 2010, when Martinez was working for Denver Public Schools.
In the 2013 case, he is charged with Class 3 and 4 felonies. A Class 3 felony is punishable by up to 12 years in prison, and a Class 4 felony is punishable by up to six years in prison.
In the 2015 case, the most serious count is a Class 4 felony, also punishable by up to 6 years in prison.