Charges against a Los Lunas High School coach accused of sexually exploiting and abusing a 15-year-old girl have been dismissed while the district attorney’s office waits for law enforcement to complete its investigation.
“We cannot proceed with prosecution until a completed investigation by (New Mexico State Police) is sent to our office,” said Jessica Martinez, Chief Deputy District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “Currently, we are waiting to see if the phone and computer contents yield further evidence. Once that happens, we will review the case for possible charges.”
On Friday, Sept. 10, 14 counts of sexual crimes against a minor filed against Johnathon M. Bindues, 30, of Los Lunas, were dismissed without prejudice, meaning criminal charges may be re-filed at a later time.
In the early morning hours of July 17, Bindues was arrested by New Mexico State Police and charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, third-degree felonies; and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, fourth-degree felonies.
The arrest came after a woman discovered her 15-year-old daughter was having sexually explicit text conversations with Bindues via text messages, as well as sending pictures and videos.
After a forensic safe house interview on July 20, Bindues was charged with an additional four counts of criminal sexual penetration and four counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, all second-degree felonies.
After his arrest in July, Bindues was put on administrative leave and remains in that status, said Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Arsenio Romero on Monday.
Bindues is a contracted coach for the district, not a teacher, and his contract will not be renewed, Romero added.
He was hired as an assistant coach for the girls’ track and field team in March 2017. In October of that same year, he became an assistant coach for the LLHS girls’ basketball team. In January 2019, he became the head coach for the girls’ track and field team.
According to the affidavit for the arrest warrant, NMSP investigators were able to search the girl’s cell phone and school-issued laptop, which confirmed the conversations, pictures and videos.
In a three-day period — from June 13 to June 15 — text conversations between Bindues and the girl led her to send videos and pictures of herself to the coach.
In the amended probable cause statement, the girl disclosed to investigators she had sex with Bindues on three separate occasions, at the LLHS track facility and at his home.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.