- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

DENVER (AP) - A man whose hiring led to the resignation of Albuquerque’s school superintendent is on trial in Denver for allegedly sexually abusing two boys.

Jason Timothy Martinez was arrested in the abuse case in 2013 and was later hired in Albuquerque, which never completed a background check on him. The incident led to the resignation of Luis Valentino.

In opening arguments Tuesday, a prosecutor said the two victims came from families that have been weakened by drug abuse, poverty and incarceration, and that made them the “perfect targets.”

The defense argued the evidence included lies, including from the boys’ parents.

Martinez, a former Denver schools employee, adopted the father of one of the alleged victims when he was abandoned as a boy and was a longtime friend of the victims’ families.

One of the alleged victims, a 6-year-old from Wyoming and the son of the man Martinez adopted, visited Martinez for about a month in May 2013 and later told his mother that Martinez had abused him in the bathroom. After he made the accusation, the other Wyoming boy on the trip with him also accused Martinez of abuse.

Defense attorney Leonard Martinez said his client had confronted the 6-year-old’s mother about the filthy living conditions in her home before the trip and alleged that she coaxed her son to lie about the abuse to keep her from getting in trouble with social services. Her husband, Martinez’s adopted son, was in a halfway house at the time.

“Yes the children are victims. They’re victims of their own families,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Courtney Johnston said that Martinez preyed on the boys’ vulnerable families by offering to give them a break and taking care of them.

“These children have been perfect targets,” she said.

The trial could last through next week.

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