Friday, January 17, 2014

My Old District in the News

Oy, the stories I could tell. There was a time when some people urged me to start my car by remote control.
But these stories are a bit beyond the pale and surprised even jaded old me --- except .... never mind.

Educator Who Allegedly Sexually Abused Students Ran for City Council

 Juan Martinez was accused of sexually abusing students at Progress High School.
Juan Martinez was accused of sexually abusing students at Progress High School.
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New York City Campaign Finance Board
EAST WILLIAMSBURG — The well-regarded educator accused last week of forcing his student to give him oral sex in his Williamsburg office ran for City Council twice and has ties to prominent North Brooklyn politicians, sources and public records revealed.
He also previously led the entire North Brooklyn school district and served on the community advisory board for Bushwick's Woodhull hospital, sources confirmed.
Juan D. Martinez, 51, sexually abused students at East Williamsburg's Progress High School while leading an after-school program he founded there in 2009 and 2011, an investigation by the Special Commissioner of Investigations for the New York City School District alleged last Wednesday.
And Martinez — whose alleged actions were denounced by the Department of Education as "reprehensible" last week and whose case is now being examined by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office — not only had a position of power within the school, but he has a history of influential roles in the district.
Martinez ran unsuccessfully for office in North Brooklyn's 34th District in 1991 and 2001, receiving donations from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, the United Federation of Teachers, and dozens of staff from the Department of Education and Woodhull Hospital, campaign finance records show.
And just last year in politics Martinez worked on State Assembly candidate Jason Otano's campaign, whose kick-off party Martinez co-hosted along with other members of the North Brooklyn political sphere, according to sources and a Facebook invitation.
Martinez "is considered a North Brooklyn power broker...[who] used his position as the head of Progress, Inc. to not only boost his own political career but those of many others as well," a source with longtime knowledge of the neighborhood said.
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez donated $100 to his campaign and the UFT contributed $1,000 in 2001, records show, and Martinez collected a total of $183,083 for his campaigns.
 Progress High School is part of the Grand Street Campus on the corner of Grand Street and Bushwick Avenue. The former assistant principal allegedly raped and molested students in his office in the school.
Progress High School is part of the Grand Street Campus on the corner of Grand Street and Bushwick Avenue. The former assistant principal allegedly raped and molested students in his office in the school.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman
Martinez also served as the president of North Brooklyn's School District 14 for five years, sources confirmed, and he served on Bushwick's Woodhull Hospital community advisory board.
Martinez — who was accused of the abuses along with the former assistant principal of Progress High School, who was also accused of rape — was also the founder of Progress Inc., the after-school program at Progress High School where he worked during the alleged incidents.
Martinez, whose case has been referred to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, did not answer multiple calls requesting comment, and the United Federation of Teachers and Woodhull Hospital did not return calls and emails requesting comment.
Otano also did not respond to emails requesting comment.
A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said they were looking into the case, and the Department of Education did not comment on the new findings but said Martinez was ineligible for jobs with the agency following the release of the Special Commissioner of Investigation's findings.
A spokesman for Velazquez would not comment on questions about her affiliation with Martinez, but said she called on the DA's office to "thoroughly and carefully review the findings."
“We all have a responsibility to keep our children safe. The...report raises troubling allegations and, if proven true, there can be no tolerance for this type of behavior," the Velazquez spokesman said. "Should the DA determine there is evidence supporting the report’s findings, the parties involved must be held legally accountable.”



William Abreu, 44, formerly an assistant principal at Progress High School in Brooklyn, has been indicted on charges accusing him of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2009 who had recently graduated from the school.

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

William Abreu, 44, formerly an assistant principal at Progress High School in Brooklyn, has been indicted on charges accusing him of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2009 who had recently graduated from the school.

Two educators at a Brooklyn high school were arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges they each forced a teenage girl into engaging in sex acts with them, authorities said.
William Abreu, 44, formerly an assistant principal at Progress High School in Williamsburg, is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl, who had recently graduated from the institution, in his office in 2009, according to city investigators.
Juan Martinez, 51, a former administrator of an after-school program at the school, is accused of compelling a 16-year-old student to perform oral sex on him in 2011, investigators said.

Both men were collared by police on Wednesday morning after grand juries returned indictments against them based on extensive investigation by authorities.
Juan Martinez, 51, a former administrator of an after-school program at Progress High, was indicted on charges that he forced a 16-year-old student to perform oral sex on him in 2011.

Special Commissioner of investig

Juan Martinez, 51, a former administrator of an after-school program at Progress High, was indicted on charges that he forced a 16-year-old student to perform oral sex on him in 2011.

The Department of Education’s Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon found evidence that the men committed the vile acts, a determination that tipped off a police investigation, authorities said.
Documents from a report prepared by Condon in 2012 detailed how Abreu and Martinez allegedly colluded to force the two victims to submit to the sexual conduct and to keep quiet about it afterward.
RELATED: TO SIR, WITH LUST
The two victims came forward following the 2012 report, and their cooperation led to the indictments against the men, officials said.
Abreu was ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bail when he was arraigned on the indictment Wednesday. He was indicted on a single felony count of third-degree rape. He was also charged with misdemeanor raps of third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
Progress High School for Professional Careers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Progress High School for Professional Careers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Martinez was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail. The indictment against him included three felony counts — criminal sex abuse in the first and third degrees, and sexual abuse in the first degree. He also was hit with misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
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Abreu was canned by the DOE in November 2013. Martinez was barred from the school following Condon’s report.
Both men pleaded not guilty at arraignment Wednesday.
Frederick Spiegel, an attorney for Abreu, said his client denies the charges. “He’s a family man. He’s been a working man his whole life.”
Spiegel noted that Abreu is married and has four children; his wife was in court with him on Wednesday.
Martinez’s lawyer said his client professes his innocence.
bchapman@nydailynews.com

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