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Why did Albuquerque schools hire a man facing sexual assault charges?

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Susan Montoya Bryan/AP/File

(Read caption) New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas talks during a news conference in Albuquerque, N.M., in January. Balderas announced Monday that he is launching an investigation into how the state's largest school district hired a high-level administrator who faces child sex abuse charges.

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New Mexico's attorney general is launching an investigation into how the state's largest school district hired a high- level administrator who faces child sex abuse charges.

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday his office will look into why Albuquerque Public Schools' safety protocols were breached and Jason Martinez was hired in June before a background check was completed.

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Martinez resigned abruptly last week. It later surfaced that he faces six felony counts of sexual assault on a child in Colorado.

Superintendent Luis Valentino was informed multiple times about Martinez refusing to complete his background check but ignored those concerns, according to a lawyer for Karen Rudys, interim assistant superintendent for human resources.

Valentino did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday.

"I'm very concerned about the allegations that safety protocols were breached at APS," Balderas said in a statement released Monday. "I've decided to initiate a formal review of the matter, and I will be communicating with the district today."

District spokesman Rigo Chavez also did not immediately return an email from the AP. No phone listing could be found for Martinez, and Chavez previously said he did not know if Martinez had an attorney.

The controversy over Martinez's hiring has placed heavy scrutiny on Valentino, who took over the district in June. It began after text messages from Valentino were leaked concerning Chief Financial Officer Don Moya, who recently was placed on paid administrative leave.

The messages showed Valentino was trying to text state Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera but accidentally texted Moya. He wrote that he was going to "go after" Moya for running "roughshot."

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Emails later showed Moya and Martinez were fighting over a proposal.

The school board met behind closed doors for five hours late Sunday. An audience crowded the meeting, and some demanded that Valentino step down.

President Don Duran read a statement apologizing for the Martinez controversy, but the board did not make a decision.

The board is scheduled to meet Thursday.


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