By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Former Monroe Police Sergeant Carlos Martinez, who is accused of once abusing his position to cultivate a sexual relationship with female who was a minor, made his first appearance in a Snohomish County courtroom on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Martinez has been charged in Everett District Court with voyeurism, 3rd degree child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor. All three are felony offences. The judge established that prosecutors have until Aug. 30 to file the charges in Snohomish County Superior Court, at which point a date will be set for his arraignment if they decide to proceed.
Filing the charges in district court preserves the statute of limitations while giving the prosecutors additional time to further investigate the case in order to prepare a thorough charging determination.
Martinez, who is 58, was a Monroe police officer for 20 years, and reportedly became acquainted with the victim while serving as a DARE officer in the Monroe School District. He allegedly began his long-term sexual relationship with the victim, who is now 24 years old, in 2003 when she was 14.
“Carlos convinced everyone around him he was helping a young, misguided child,” wrote Washington State Patrol Detective W. Steen in court documents. “Instead he was having sex with her.”
In 2009, after Martinez was forced into retirement over allegations of domestic violence unrelated to his alleged young victim, he moved to Texas. The victim, at that point over 18 years of age, moved with him.
Martinez’s relationship with the alleged victim lasted nearly a decade, until she went to Texas authorities in 2011 to report that he was physically abusing her. According to police documents, a search warrant was issued on Dec. 15, 2011 after the victim told police that she had been involved with Martinez since she was in the fifth grade and that he had collected sexually explicit photographs and video of her, storing the images on his computer.
Police located both video and photographic images of the victim on Martinez’s computer equipment, which included a laptop, computer hard drives, cameras and videos. Two VHS tapes were discovered which included footage taken of the victim without her knowledge.
The Texas Grand Jury declined to prosecute the case due to insufficient evidence, but an FBI task force referred the case to Washington authorities due to the victim’s report that certain acts had occurred in Washington.
The victim reported that the photos, along with the videos, were taken in Washington.
Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force detectives followed up with their own investigation into the allegations, which began in March of 2012 and was ongoing for over a year. They stated in a recent press release that they believe there may be additional victims.
As a result of the State Patrol’s investigation, Snohomish County prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Martinez on June 26, and followed up with the district court charges on Aug. 12.
Defense attorney Colleen St. Clair stated that prosecutors are still in the process of reviewing the investigation documents and looking at additional evidence provided by her for the defense of her client.
“We are hopeful that they will not file charges,” said St. Clair.
Martinez has a lawsuit pending in a Texas court against his alleged victim for defamation of character.