Thursday, June 10, 2010
Ad Faults Denish in Alleged Sex Crime
By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
Governor candidates Diane Denish and Susana Martinez switched roles Wednesday, with Republican Martinez rolling out a television attack ad and Democrat Denish calling it misleading.
It was the same dance the two opponents had last week, except Denish was on the offensive and Martinez was crying foul about the ad's allegations.
Martinez's ad, which began airing Wednesday morning, alleges Denish, who has served as lieutenant governor for nearly eight years, didn't make good on a promise to review state Children, Youth and Families Department policies in 2006 during the transition between two department secretaries.
The ad insinuates that since Denish didn't ferret out a 2006 policy enacted by former CYFD Secretary Mary-Dale Bolson that prevented department employees from reporting criminal juveniles to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Denish was partly responsible for alleged child molester and Mexican national Juan Gonzalez's suspected sex crime against a 6-year-old girl in May.
Gonzalez was not reported to ICE in 2005 when he was charged with another sex crime as a juvenile. That was before the state policy was enacted by Bolson, however.
"Denish promised to review their policies, but the sanctuary policy stayed. So did Juan Gonzales, and he just attacked another child," the ad's narrator says.
Denish spokesman Chris Cervini called the allegations in the ad "far-fetched and ludicrous." Denish has said she did not have any idea the policy was in place and would not have supported it if she did.
The Lieutenant Governor's Office does not have authority over CYFD or its policies. The Children's Cabinet, a group headed by Denish and including Gov. Bill Richardson and 11 of his Cabinet secretaries, also does not have authority beyond making recommendations and coordinating early childhood development efforts by the state, CYFD spokeswoman Romaine Serna said.
"Is there a direct supervisory-type relationship? I would say no, except for all the respect and deference that goes to the lieutenant governor," Serna said, referring to the relationship between CYFD and both the Children's Cabinet and the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
Martinez cites a 2006 news release in which Denish said of the CYFD, "I intend to review everything, from budget to structure to the management team," as evidence Denish should have known about the policy.
Cervini said Denish did a review of the department in 2006, but was focused on finding new leadership, not reviewing every policy.