Judge grants pretrial release for teacher who is accused of child sex crimes

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An APS teacher who is accused of sexually abusing two of his second grade students was granted pretrial release during a Tuesday hearing.

“People voluntarily send their children to school, thinking that their children are going to be protected, and better yet, this defendant, the one person who is supposed to be protecting them is the one who is hurting them,” said Jordan Machin, an attorney for the state.

Machin called it a crime of opportunity that happened at Valle Vista Elementary School in 45-year-old Danny Aldaz’s classroom.

“She had disclosed that while she was at school, in her classroom, that Danny had called her to the back of the room, to a section that’s walled off in his classroom,” said Felicia Maggard, a BCSO detective who is on the case.

The first accusation came from an 8-year-old student in 2020. Since then, Aldaz has been on administrative leave. Another allegation also surfaced during that time, which came from someone who claimed the abuse started in second grade, but continued for years. On Tuesday, BCSO confirmed a third victim Helen Cordero Elementary School.

“It started out as kind of just hugging, and she described it, she wouldn’t be hugging like a friend. Then she described him becoming more handsy. That’s the word she used,” Maggard said.

Aldaz was watching from MDC as prosecutors tried to make a case that he is too dangerous to be released before trial, but his attorney argued that Aldaz had never been in trouble before.

Alexandria Jones, Aldaz’s attorney, asked the judge to release Aldaz with whatever conditions she felt necessary, which the judge did.

“I’m going to find now that the court did not meet by clear and convincing evidence that the court can’t fashion conditions that could reasonably protect the community because I can take that opportunity away from him by setting conditions of release,” said Judge Courtney Weaks.

The judge granted Aldaz’s release under certain conditions. Some of the conditions include avoiding contact with anyone under the age of 18 and wearing a GPS monitor.