The New Rochelle Police Department will hold a news conference today regarding the arrest of Jose Martinez, Assistant Principal of Jefferson School. Press conference to be held at 11 a.m. Talk of the Sound first reported Martinez had abruptly resigned last Friday.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rather than run a series of stories we are consolidating reporting on this article throughout the weekend, adding updates to the original article. If you have additional information you may add a comment to the post or contact Talk of the Sound (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bob Marrone will be calling into Talk of the Sound Radio show after the press conference with a full report. Tune in to the show at 11:08 a.m. for more.
UPDATE: Friday March 25 2:30 PM New Rochelle Police Press Conference. Former Assistant Principal Jose Martinez,38, was arrested and charged with Sexual Molestation-2nd Degree, accused of oral sex and sexual contact with a 14-year old student at Isaac Young Middle School up until June 2010. As first reported on Talk of the Sound last week, Martinez abruptly resigned his position as Assistant Principal of Jefferson Elementary School, a position to which he was promoted over the summer. He began serving as the Jefferson AP last September.
Martinez is in custody of the New Rochelle Police Department and will be arraigned this afternoon at New Rochelle City Court. Martinez was arrested at his home in Brentwood, NY in Long Island. Police said Martinez expressed "shock" at his arrest.
All area TV broadcasts led with the story at noon. Talk of the Sound Radio broadcast a live report by Bob Marrone of WVOX from the New Rochelle police station.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that while the press conference was underway, three detectives from the New Rochelle Police Department arrived at Isaac E. Young Middle School. They spoke with Principal Anthony Bongo. They brought video camera equipment with them.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY NRPD
March 25, 2011
Statement by New Rochelle Police Department
Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Murphy
Last night (1900 hrs. March 24) New Rochelle Police Detectives, investigating a complaint that a former New Rochelle school district official had engaged in criminal sexual acts with a fourteen year old New Rochelle school district student, arrested Mr. Jose Martinez, age 38, 205 Elliot Street, Brentwood, NY.
Mr. Martinez, a former administrative dean at Isaac E. Young Middle School, is alleged to have engaged in an ongoing course of sexual misconduct with the male student over a period of time extending from March or April 2010 through June 2010. The conduct is alleged to have occurred in Mr. Martinez’ office at the school.
Mr. Martinez was located and taken into custody at his residence in Brentwood and returned to New Rochelle. He has been charged with Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree (D/Felony).
Anthony Bongo is a name that will be very familiar to Talk of the Sound readers which has published stories randing from cheating on standardized tests, to covering up assaults by staff on students, to failing to provide an ambulance for a student with two broken arms, to smoking cigars on school grounds, to covering up a series of racial incidents involving a noose in a school office.
UPDATE: Friday March 25 3:30 PM Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak issued the following statement.
Statement from Richard Organisciak, Superintendent of Schools
March 25, 2011
We are deeply concerned about the allegations that have been made against Assistant Principal, Jose Martinez. The safety and welfare of our students remains our priority.
Mr. Martinez was hired by the district in 2007 as Administrative Dean at Isaac E. Young Middle School. He was provided with clearance to work in the school district after passing the normal State criminal fingerprinting check. There had been no record of complaints from students or staff about Mr. Martinez.
Mr. Martinez became Assistant Principal of Jefferson Elementary School in September of this past year. He abruptly resigned as an employee of the New Rochelle School District on March 11th.
The district is fully cooperating with the New Rochelle Police Department as it investigates this very serious matter. All questions related to the investigation should be directed to the New Rochelle Police. The District will also be conducting our own internal investigation.
UPDATE: Martinez arraigned in New Rochelle City Court. Bail was set at $500,000.
AP: "New Rochelle police Capt. Joseph Schaller said the boy's mother told police earlier this month that 'she thought something wrong had gone on between her son and Mr. Martinez but she didn't know the nature of what had gone on.' Deputy Commissioner Anthony Murphy said the sexual misconduct occurred between March or April 2010 through June 2010. Martinez was arrested Thursday night at his home in Brentwood.
UPDATE: Did Martinez pass a background check? Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak says he "passed" a criminal background check based on his fingerprints when he was hired in 2007. Talk of the Sound has learned that in the summer of 2007, Assistant Superintendent Margaret Pecunia informed the Board of Education members that the New York State Department of Education had not completed background checks for new hires but all new hires for 2007-08 would be allowed to start the school year anyway. Two months later, at another Board of Education meeting, Pecunia again stated that no results from SED background checks had been received by the District.
Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak says the school district is conducting their own investigation despite new information that school administrators were informed two years ago about inappropriate behavior by Martinez -- inviting boys into his office, close the window shared, and "bribing" them with candy, money, food and gifts. Multiple sources have now come forward making similar claims that Isaac E. Young Middle School Principal Anthony Bongo and Assistant Principal Towanda Robinson received numerous complaints about Martinez but no action was taken.
UPDATED Saturday March 26 3:30 PM Additional Details on Jose Martinez
Charge: second-degree criminal sexual act, a class D felony (manual and oral sex with a then-14 year old boy between March or April 2010 and June 2010)
Bail: Set at $500,000 bond.
Custody Status: In Custody
Location of Offender: Westchester County Jail
Offender ID: 0000218242
Date of Birth: 03/13/1973
Arrest Number#: 2011001964
Other Jail Number 1#: 0000218242
UPDATED Saturday March 26 3:45 PM Media Coverage of the Arrest and Arraignment of Jose Martinez
WCBS-TV New York: Principal Arrested At Home On Long Island
Wall Street Journal/AP: Former dean of NY school accused of sex with boy
Newsday: Brentwood man charged in sex offense
WABC-TV New York: Principal arrested over alleged sex with student
WNBC-TV New York: Former New Rochelle Dean Charged With Sexual Abuse
64% of New Rochelle residents are "Furious".
WPIX-New York: Principal Charged With Having Sex With Student Inside Office
News12 Westchester: Cops: Ex-assistant principal arrested for sexual contact with minor
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 10:00 AM
According to police sources, Martinez gave a partial confession which, combined with evidence supplied by the mother of the victim and statements by the victim formed the basis for the arrest of Martinez. During the interrogation, on four occasions, Martinez confessed to New Rochelle police investigators.
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 11:00 AM
Martinez illegally enrolled his Long Island nephew last year at Isaac E. Young Middle School with the full knowledge of Principal Anthony Bongo and Assistant Principal Towanda Robinson.
Martinez submitted his resignation to Principal Anthony Bongo last spring but the resignation was held by Bongo who sought to talk Martinez out of resigning. There was reportedly friction between Martinez and Towanda Robinson.
The Principal at Jefferson Elementary School received the resignation letter from Martinez on Monday morning, March 14th, but failed to inform City Hall of the letter for the better part of two days.
Although the Board of Education met on the evening of Tuesday, March 15th, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak failed to inform the full board of the Martinez resignation and disappearance.
Organisciak commissioned Bruce Daniele to conduct a private investigation into the disappearance of Martinez, there are multiple reports that Daniele was not at his post in the days the followed and further reports that this was due to Daniele searching for Martinez.
Multiple sources have confirmed that the victim's mother went to the Jefferson Elementary School prior to his resignation on March 13th. The parents considered Martinez a mentor to their son, know at the high school, but the parents were concerned about telephone calls going back and forth between Martinez and the victim. When the parent requested that Martinez notify the parents prior to calling their son, without disclosing the phone records, Martinez denied have the victims phone number. That set off a series of events, still unclear at this time, that led the mother to go to the New Rochelle Police on March 23rd. There are some indications that the mother went to police after growing frustrated with the failure of the district to respond to her concerns.
New Rochelle police detectives went to Isaac E. Young Middle School on Friday March 25th. In addition to video equipment, there are reports that detectives brought equipment used to test for DNA samples into Martinez' former office at Isaac E. Young Middle School.
There are reports that Martinez missed work in the Spring of 2010, at the time of the relationship with the victim, and that moving him to Jefferson Elementary School was part of a shell game.
There were three students last year, including the victim, that had "free reign" in Martinez' office at Isaac E. Young Middle School. The students would frequent Martinez' office, using his computer and hanging out, even when Martinez was not in the office.
Many, many reports coming in over concerns among Isaac E. Young Middle School staff that Martinez would pull down the shades to his office when meeting with boys, failing to discipline some boys, giving them things including money.
Martinez was picked up in Queens, not Long Island.
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 3:15 PM
The school district is communicating with parents at Jefferson and Isaac E. Young Middle School via Connect Ed, the district's password protected web site. There is word there will be meetings with parents at both schools to address concerns. The victim, along with half of the students at New Rochelle High School were exposed to Martinez during his four years at the middle school but there is no word of plans for school officials to meet with those students or parents.
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 4:00 PM
The time line and the facts in evidence are not adding up.
This is starting to sound a lot like the Oscar Licea, a student was slapped by a guard at Isaac E. Young Middle School and suspended. The mother of the victim in that case went to the police on three separate occasions but they refused to take her complaint and threatened her, telling her she could be sued if she made the complaint. A NRPD detective made a false statement about the case to the Journal News. Video tape of the incident went "missing".
...Immediately after the incident (the guard striking the child) the boy went to Mr. Jose Martinez, Administrative Dean at Isaac E. Young. Shortly after, Mr. Martinez was called to Mrs. Tawanda Robinson’s office, the Assistant Principal at Isaac E. Young Middle School. Sometime after, the boy reported to Mrs. Robinson’s office and was interviewed. After the interview, the child was sent to the nurse and provided with ice for his injuries. In the nurse’s office, the parent was contacted. The mother arrived at the school moments later. After a conversation between the school administration and the parent, the student was sent to the In-House Suspension room for the remainder of the day.
The parent met with a Detective from the New Rochelle Police Department on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009. At the police station the parent was told that the injuries were not serious enough to constitute an assault. At best, under the Penal Law , injuries would be considered harassment. Finally, New Rochelle Police Department considered that the evidence against the Security Guard was insufficient to charge her of a crime. The family is considering seeking legal counsel at this time. We will have to wait and see what action the City School District of New Rochelle takes to address the situation.
In this current case, Martinez lawyer said that Martinez was asked to leave by administration.
School officials said they were surprised by the arrest and made various other statements to the effect that they did not know anything about Martinez resigning or why.
The New Rochelle police say that the mother of the victim made a formal complaint on March 23rd but that she had been to the police earlier in the month.
The mother came forward only after Martinez had resigned which only became public after a story on Talk of the Sound on March 18th which prompted a robo-call to parents at Jefferson Elementary School where Martinez was Assistant Principal but not to Isaac E. Young Middle School where he had served as Dean for four years and where the alleged crimes occurred.
The Journal News reported on a bizarre series of statements by school officials after Talk of the Sound broke the news that Martinez had resigned and disappeared.
Superintendent Richard Organisciak said the district asked "local law enforcement officials" for assistance. A sergeant at the New Rochelle Police Department said he was unaware that the department had been asked to take a role in finding Martinez.
"We're hoping there is not an untoward reason for why he might have gone missing," district spokesman Paul Costiglio said.
Costiglio said he did not know where Martinez lives.
Organisciak says he asked "local" law enforcement for help locating Martinez but does not explain why or on what authority considering that Martinez had resigned on March 13th. New Rochelle police tell the paper no one from the District contacted them.
Costiglio says the District does not know where Martinez lives. Martinez owned a home in Brentwood, NY on Long Island. The idea that the district did not know this is simply absurd but if this is the position of the district then Organisciak could not mean Brentwood/Islip police when he said "local authorities".
Very little of the district's account of the time line is making sense.
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 5:15 PM
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 7:45 PM
There will be staff meetings to discuss the arrest of Jose Martinez at Jefferson Elementary and Isaac E. Young Middle School. The IEYMS meeting is 8:10a. Unconfirmed report that Jefferson meeting is at 7:30a. Still looking for additional confirmations. No word on parent meetings.
UPDATE: Sunday March 27 10:25 PM
...Ignoring this sad event or trying to pretend it didn’t happen would be disingenuous on my part, but it is difficult to understand or even to acknowledge that one of our colleagues could do the things he stands accused of doing. I guess the first thing to be said is that an arrest is not a conviction, and Mr. Martinez should enjoy the same presumption of innocence that all other persons accused of wrongdoing enjoy. Nonetheless, these accusations, if proven true, will leave a young student with emotional scars that may never heal, a serious consequence that is painful to consider...
Read the entire statement here.
UPDATE: Monday March 28 1:25 PM
Bob Marrone, News Director of WVOX, has provided Talk of the Sound a full recording (7 minutes) of the NRPD Press Conference from Friday. Click the link to listen and read an unofficial transcript of the press conference.
UPDATE: Monday March 28 5:15 PM
There is a meeting scheduled at Jefferson School at 6:30 PM. There are no meetings planned for Isaac E. Young Middle School where Martinez served for four years or New Rochelle High School despite the fact that the majority of kids who had Martinez as an administration are at the middle school or high school and not the elementary school where he only served for a few months. It appears the only meeting available for them is the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night at Albert Leonard Middle School.
UPDATE: Tuesday March 29 9:15 AM
Over 150 teachers, parents, school board members and school administrators attended a meeting at the Jefferson Elementary School on Monday night. Surrounded by Board of Education president Sara Richmond and Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak, Jefferson Principal Kim Nieves tried to put a brave face on a terrible situation. Remarks by those in attendances ran the gamut from wishing harm to Martinez, to feeling betrayed, to belief that the allegations against Martinez were based on lies and that he was innocent. Organisciak repeatedly sidestepped questions on the grounds that the questions about what Martinez did were police matters. When a frustrated parent asked. if this was the case, why the police were not present. Organisciak said it an oversight and that they would ask the police to attend a meeting at Isaac E. Young Middle School on Wednesday.
As is typically the case, the school district organized the event to create an "us v. them" environment, stocking the room with union members, administrators, board members and a few "ringers". Board members and administrators filled much of the first two rows. A large block of teachers sat together as a group on one side of the auditorium. When one parent rose to raise a particular set of concerns and got applause from other parents, another "ringer" parent would rise to make comments that were loudly and aggressively cheered by the union members. At times the meeting seemed like a pep rally.
The meeting became silent, however, as one mother talked with deep emotion about her struggles over the weekend to explain to her young child why Mr. Martinez would no longer be working at the school. She struck a chord with all present when she talked about feeling along, abandoned by the district, not getting information, not getting a script and not knowing how to deal with the situation.
WNBC-TV Channel 4 was on hand, they did a live shot on the Eleven O'Clock news from out front of Jefferson School.
UPDATE: Tuesday March 29 29 1:15 PM
Martinez appeared briefly in the New Rochelle City Court today before Judge Susan Kettner where his new attorney (waiting to get the name) asked for an adjournment until next week. Kettner granted the request, setting a date of April 4th and keeping the $500,000 bail in place.
Martinez' sister was in the court room but refused to answer any questions from the press.
Martinez was dressed in the same sweater top seen his mug shot photo.
After Martinez was led out of the courtroom, most of the 25 people inside left the building. There was a reporter from Channel 12 and the Journal News along with Talk of the Sound. Most of the people during Martinez court appearance were mothers and children who came to support Martinez, although one referred to him as "el diablo". One Martinez supporter said she was "100% behind Martinez" although she thought he would be convicted.
UPDATE: Tuesday March 29 29 5:25 PM
The Channel 12 News truck is out in front of Albert Leonard Middle School, the reporter is asking questions of people in anticipation of the Board of Education Meeting tonight. Big crowd expected at ALMS at 7:00 p.m.
UPDATE: Wednesday March 30, 7:29 AM
UPDATE: Thursday, March 31, 2:11 PM
UPDATE: Monday, April 4, 3:10 PM
UPDATE:Friday April 15, 4:55 PM