Pecos coach, facing five sex crime charges, remains in jail
LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Pecos High School assistant boys basketball coach Dominick Baca was arraigned Wednesday in the San Miguel County Magistrate Court on charges of sexually assaulting two female students in the past 14 months.
Magistrate Court Judge Christian Montano did not enter a plea for Baca because the charges against him are felonies. Baca is charged with three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor by school personnel and two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor by school personnel.
Each charge is a fourth-degree felony that carries up to an 18-month prison sentence if convicted. Baca also would have to register as a sex offender if found guilty of any of the charges.
According to an arrest warrant, Baca engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl in February 2017 in his car and at his home, and with a 17-year-old girl from February to March of this year in his school office and at his home. Baca is also accused of sending lewd photographs to the teens and engaging in inappropriate conversations over the phone and by text messages, the warrant stated.
Montano set Baca’s unsecured bond at $25,000. Baca could be released without paying the bond but would have to abide by several conditions set for it. Montano ordered that Baca not have any contact with minors or any Pecos High School students, and not consume any drugs or alcohol while the bond remains active.
He also will be placed on house arrest with a GPS ankle monitor and face random drug tests. And he would have to pay the costs of the tests.
The conditions mean that Pecos senior Carlos Cordova, a basketball player who has lived with Baca for the past three years, would have to leave the house the two share. They were featured in a New Mexican article on Thanksgiving Day of 2017 about how they became roommates in 2015 following the death of Cordova’s grandfather.
The story prompted the New Mexico Activities Association to investigate the living arrangement as a possible violation of the organization’s rule against “undue influence of a student.” Baca voluntarily left the Pecos basketball program in December during the investigation. The organization eventually granted Cordova a hardship waiver, and Baca returned to the program in January.
Baca, who wore an orange jumpsuit and kept his head down as he awaited his arraignment hearing Wednesday, tried to tell Montano that Cordova would be left without a home, but the judge cut him off.
“Judge … He has no place to go,” Baca said.
“That’s OK,” Montano said. “That’s the court’s order. You can talk to your attorney.”
Baca had not been released from the San Miguel County jail as of Wednesday evening. He faces a Magistrate Court hearing April 30 for review of his conditions of release.