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Copyright 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)


SANTA FE — A Pecos High School assistant boys basketball coach has been arrested and charged with rape for allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct with two female students, including one who was 14 years old at the time.

Dominick Baca, 29, is charged with three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor for sexual acts that took place in his school office and at his house going back to February 2017.

He was arrested at his Pecos home around noon Tuesday, State Police said.

Baca was an assistant coach for the Pecos High School basketball team that won its second consecutive state championship last month and serves as the school's coordinator for GEAR UP, a program that prepares students for college.

He was in the news last year when the Journal reported that Baca came under investigation by the New Mexico Athletics Association because he had been living with a star Pecos Panthers basketball player, which is against NMAA rules, since 2014. The player's grandfather, who was his main guardian, had died earlier that year. In December, a waiver was granted to allow the living arrangement to continue.

Two of the alleged sexual encounters with female students for which Baca is now facing charges took place in his own bedroom, according to a police affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Pecos Independent School District Superintendent Fred Trujillo said via email Tuesday that the district is taking steps to terminate Baca.

The police affidavit said allegations of sexual misconduct by Baca were initially reported to State Police in February 2017. But the girl involved, identified in the affidavit only by initials and age, 14 at the time, denied the relationship and said nothing occurred. "However, she came forward after she was informed that Baca was also sexually assaulting other students," the affidavit says.

The girl told police that Baca asked her if she wanted to meet him after a homecoming event in February 2017, and she agreed. She said she met with Baca in his car outside of her house and said Baca wanted to have sex with her, but she didn't want to. She said she performed a sexual act with Baca before he left.

About two weeks later, she said, Baca took her to his house after they had met up somewhere and then had sex in his room. Afterward she said Baca told her "he was probably going to hell for having sex with her" and took her phone to make sure she didn't record anything or text anyone about him. She said she has not communicated with Baca since that encounter.

While investigating Baca's actions with the 14-year-old, State Police learned about allegations of Baca having sex with a second student, this one 17 years old.

The second girl told officers that Baca would send her nude pictures of himself and tried to entice her to send him nude photos. She said in mid-February of this year, Baca asked her to come to his office and they began talking. "Baca stepped out of his office, looked around for anyone in the hallway, and walked back into his office," the affidavit says. Baca then started kissing and groping the teen before she pushed him off and left the room, she told police.

Later in February, she said, Baca asked her to come to his office again and closed his door after checking the hallway and started to kiss and grope her. She said she went to Baca's house in March and had sex with him in his bedroom.

Baca was temporarily put on leave by the Pecos school district in November after the NMAA began investigating whether his living arrangement with basketball player Carlos Cordova broke NMAA rules against undue influence.

Cordova, who this winter completed his senior season, offered to let Baca stay in his trailer on the outskirts of Pecos in 2014. Cordova's grandfather, who raised Cordova, had died of cancer earlier that year, and Baca was looking for a place to live in Pecos after accepting the assistant coach job. The NMAA granted Cordova a hardship waiver and allowed him to keep living with Baca. As of late 2017, Baca and Cordova had moved three times and were living in a four-bedroom home.

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April 25, 2018


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