By Polly Keary, Editor
As the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office last week filed formal charges against former Monroe police officer and school board member Carlos Martinez on six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, more information about the case came to light in court documents, including some of Martinez’s statements in his own defense.
The prosecutor’s account
August 30, the Prosecutor’s Office filed six charges against Martinez alleging various offenses against a former Monroe student, mostly between 2003 and 2005.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, which is a piece of paperwork in which the Prosecutor’s Office lays out its reasons for pursuing charges, Martinez began grooming a young and vulnerable girl while he was a D.A.R.E. officer in the school and she was a student there.
Much of the prosecutor’s case is drawn from the testimony of the former student, named only “A.K.” in the affidavit, who is now a young woman. According to her, she was from a large and very conservative religious family in which activities such as dancing, listening to music, watching movies and television were avoided, and she had little social contact outside her church.
When she was in the 4th and 5th grades, Martinez, then nearly 50, was a D.A.R.E. officer in her school. He became acquainted with her and took an interest in her. When she was 13, he gave her a tour of the police department. At that time, she said, he suggested that she babysit for him and his wife, another police officer he had married in 1992.
The girl’s mother knew Martinez and allowed it. Sometimes A.K. came over to help with chores when Martinez’s wife and children were away. According to the documents, Martinez made an effort to keep such visits secret from his wife, even getting a separate phone and email account so Martinez and A.K. could communicate privately.
During the next two years, the woman said, Martinez flattered her and paid attention to her, which she liked. But also he began videotaping her secretly when she used his bathroom.
And when she was 14 or 15, in 2003 or 2004, she said, he initiated sexual touching with her. She left him a love note shortly thereafter, and his wife found it.
The wife, who divorced Martinez in 2010, told police that she’d been suspicious of the relationship, and although Martinez explained the note as “just something stupid little girls write,” and said that he only paid attention to her out of concern for her, she demanded the girl not come over again.
The two continued to visit in secret, and in May of 2004, according to the former student, they had sex. Later that year, A.K. and her family moved to Eastern Washington.
Martinez and A.K. stayed in contact through the next two years, though. Martinez would come to Eastern Washington on business, then pick A.K. up, giver her alcohol, and take her to hotels, where sometimes he would film or photograph them together.
After A.K. graduated in 2007, she moved to Sultan. Martinez’ coworkers said that during that time, sometimes it was hard to get Martinez on the radio. Once, according to A.K., police came looking for Martinez and found his car outside a closed business. Martinez came out and explained he had been checking the place out, but A.K. said Martinez broke in so they could have sex there.
Over the course of the events described by A.K., others near the two later reported becoming suspicious. Some of Martinez’s former co-workers reported that A.K. would show up at the police department and ask for him, and follow him around.
Then, in 2004, shortly after things become sexual, A.K. said the told her middle school counselor some of the details, which the counselor later corroborated with police. The counselor advised her to stay away from Martinez, who the counselor knew, and then she spoke to a DSHS worker.
The DSHS worker knew Martinez well, and was already concerned about his relationship with A.K.
The DSHS worker spoke with A.K., who cried and appeared very conflicted, and then she confronted Martinez, who neither confirmed nor denied the accusation.
The DSHS worker, according to the paperwork, told Martinez that “she felt something inappropriate was going in between he and A.K., and that she did not want to have anything further to do with him.”
Years later, during an investigation, the DSHS worker described A.K. as “the perfect victim,” a shy girl with few friends, whereas Martinez was “aggressive and manipulative.”
The counselor said she intended to follow up with A.K., but the same year, the family moved to Eastern Washington.
According to Monroe School District spokesperson Rosemary O’Neil, the counselor did what was required of her by law.
“You call CPS because it’s mandated, and that was done,” she said. “That was verified by an earlier report that contact was made. I can’t tell you what was said to the counselor nor what was said to CPS, because those records are only held for six years.”
In 2005, Martinez’ wife said she found a 15-second clip on her husband’s computer of A.K. getting out of the shower at their house. She said she confronted him and he said he’d taken it to see if she’d been telling the truth about being injured in the stomach by a knife, and that he’d kept it because “he liked it.” She took all the evidence she had of the relationship, including the video clip, and put it in her office at work, but she said he snuck in and stole it all back, and she never told anyone of the matter.
However, in the community at large, Martinez was highly regarded.
In 2006, he was unanimously appointed to the Monroe School District Board of Directors to replace a disgraced school board member, an attorney who was convicted of forging signatures. He ran for reelection in 2007, but lost.
One person who voted for Martinez at the time, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Martinez was extremely well-liked in the community and that he seemed like an ideal school board member. That characterization of Martinez’ standing in the community at the time has since been corroborated by many people.
But in 2009, Martinez did start to run into some trouble.
In 2009, Martinez and his wife split up, and after an internal investigation and accusations on the part of his wife of domestic violence, Martinez was allowed to resign. He moved to Texas. A.K., then 18, moved with him. They lived together for two years, while A.K. pursued her education and Martinez pursued a career in the military.
The relationship was turbulent, and in 2011, A.K. went to police in Texas, alleging domestic violence and reporting that Martinez still had explicit pictures of her taken before she was 16. She handed over two VHS tapes of herself in the bathroom at the Martinez house, taken, she said, without her knowledge while she was under 16.
A Texas investigation included the search of Martinez’ computer, on which were found about 3,000 images of her, although they didn’t include the ones she said he made before she was 18. Texas didn’t prosecute, but did send the bathroom videotapes to Washington, where the State Patrol was conducting its own investigation.
The Washington State Patrol interviewed Martinez on Halloween of last year and got his side of the story.
Martinez confirmed knowing A.K. for most of her life, and said he’d see her around town, sometimes late at night, and he’d talk to her. He also said that she did babysit for him while she was in middle school.
He described her as quiet, with good grades, and said at the time she started babysitting, he’d known her family for 11 years or more, a family he described as so religious as to nearly be Amish.
He said A.K. also sometimes came over to do homework or hang out. He also said sometimes he’d pick her up after school and take her home and make her dinner. He also recounted the incident in which his wife found the note A.K. had written him, and said that his wife told him not to let A.K. babysit anymore. But sometimes when his wife was away he did anyway, he said, so that he could conduct an affair he was having at the time with another coworker.
He denied having sex with A.K. while she was still a minor, though, offering differing accounts of situations she had described. In his accounts, he was offering advice and friendship.
He said she kept emailing him after her family moved to Eastern Washington, also calling him and telling him about her new boyfriend and her school life.
Martinez did say that he’d started having sex with the girl once she turned 18 and moved back to Sultan, saying he yielded to the temptation of constantly-available sex.
In March of 2013, Martinez filed a civil suit against A.K. for slander, defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
In July, the state of Washington suspended Martinez’ license to practice as a private investigator.
A.K. now lives out of the state.
August 30, the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office charged Martinez with voyeurism, child molestation, rape of a child and possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
If convicted on all counts, Martinez could face five years in prison.