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Pending cases gain momentum

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Courts: A former teacher and a mother of dead infant are set to face the judge

By Carol A. Clark

Some high profile cases are set to get underway in area courtrooms.

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A 9 a.m. hearing on Oct. 17 has been set in Los Alamos Magistrate Court for former Los Alamos Middle School teacher Peter Bowman. The 47-year-old married father of three is charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.

Police Capt. Randy Foster said his department first became aware of Bowman’s alleged relationship with a 14-year-old LAMS female student after she came forward with the information.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for incoming and outgoing text and telephone messages between Bowman and the student. Verbiage between the two from July 22-29 corroborated the girl’s testimony, according to court documents, which indicated that the conversations were sexual in content and depicted a personal relationship.

New Mexico State Police assisted the LAPD throughout the investigation because Bowman lived in El Rancho at the time, Foster said.

Bowman has been employed at the school district since 2006, Superintendent Gene Schmidt said, and most recently taught eighth grade social studies and a seventh and eighth grade skill-building course for students who need a boost in a particular subject.

Bowman also worked as an assistant cross country and track and field coach. The girl involved in the charges against Bowman was in his social studies class and he also coached her in track and field, according to court documents.

Bowman exchanged more than 4,000 text messages with the girl during a three-week period, according to court documents.

“Mr. Bowman is no longer an employee of the school district,” Schmidt said. “He resigned his position on Aug. 17.”

A pre-employment background check conducted by the FBI showed no prior arrest record on Bowman, Schmidt said.

If convicted, Bowman faces up to three years in prison for each count and up to $5,000 in fines, Magistrate Judge Casados said following his preliminary hearing in August.

According to court records, Bowman’s wife, Luci, filed for legal separation from him on Aug. 26 in Santa Fe District Court.

A preliminary hearing has also been set in another case that’s been pending for more than a year. The District Attorney’s Office charged the mother and grandparents with child abuse in the death of a Los Alamos newborn in August. A preliminary hearing is set for the mother, Katrina Vigil, at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 22 in District Court in Santa Fe.

The DA said that “Baby Grey Vigil,” who lived just 11 days after being born at his grandparents Los Alamos home in September 2010, was the victim of child abuse regardless of the fact that his autopsy showed he had a rare medical condition that ultimately caused his death, according to prosecutors.

In documents filed in the First Judicial District Court by Deputy District Attorney Judith Reed, Katrina Vigil has been charged with one count of child abuse – negligently causing or permitting (no death or great bodily harm). The baby’s grandparents, Holly J. Vigil and Robert Vigil also were charged with the same count. Court dates for them have not been set.

The charge of child abuse is considered a third-degree felony. The trio face up to three years in state prison if found guilty.

Police continue the investigation into the death of Allen L. Martinez.

Martinez, 31, of Chimayo died in a single-vehicle rollover Sept. 17. He was on his way to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory when the early Saturday morning accident occurred on Pajarito Road near Technical Area 46.

“Mr. Martinez was a laboratory employee who worked in Maintenance and Site Services as a heavy equipment operator,” LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said. “On behalf of Director McMillan and Mr. Martinez’ co-workers, we’d like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.”

Deputy Police Chief Kevin Purtymun said Wednesday that his department is awaiting toxicology and other investigative results in order to determine the cause of the rollover. Reports indicate that the 1999 Oldsmobile Martinez was driving left the roadway and traveled more than 500 feet before coming to a stop.