District says abuse was reported
MONROE - The Monroe School District continues to maintain that district employees did everything they were supposed to do when a student reported being sexually abused by a former police officer.
Former Monroe police Sgt. Carlos Martinez, 58, was charged June 26 with voyeurism, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor. The alleged abuse took place over 10 years and involved a Monroe student who was 14 when the abuse began.
In 2004, the girl reported being raped by Martinez to a school counselor on two separate occasions, according to a Washington State Patrol investigation report. The school counselor reportedly went to a Child Protective Services employee. The CPS employee was allegedly in a romantic relationship with Martinez, according to the WSP report. The CPS employee asked the girl about the relationship.
The WSP investigation document says Martinez “groomed her from a young age for the purposes of a sexual relationship,” and that he “used his position to manipulate (the girl) and the people she had the most contact with. This included her family, friends, boyfriends, school counselors and school officials. Martinez also abused his position to manipulate his co-workers, subordinates, supervisors and the citizens he was entrusted to protect.”
Why the abuse was never reported to law enforcement remains unanswered. Police Chief Tim Quenzer said he didn’t know about the abuse allegation.
Martinez was with the Monroe Police Department for 20 years and he served nine of those years as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer in the district’s elementary and middle schools.
He left the department in 2009.
“From what I’ve seen in the report, the person responsible took what the young woman had to say and forwarded it appropriately,” district spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said last week. “From what I’ve seen, the report was made in a timely manner.”
O’Neil said she isn’t sure that anything slipped through. All of the district staff is routinely updated on various types of training, she said, and that includes how to report abuse allegations.
O’Neil couldn’t say last week what the district’s exact policy is regarding staff reporting of abuse allegations.
It is unclear if the principal at the girl’s school or the district superintendent knew about the abuse allegation.
Two years after the girl reported the abuse, Martinez was appointed to the Monroe School Board.
If a report was made properly, then the superintendent undoubtedly would have been notified, former Monroe School Board member Debra Kolrud said.
“District policy states that a copy of the written report goes to the building principal and superintendent,” Kolrud said. “Receiving a report with alleged abuse from a police officer that has complete access into our schools would most definitely warrant the district to conduct an investigation as required by risk pool management.”
If an investigation was conducted, Kolrud said, it almost certainly would have been brought up as a red flag during Martinez’s appointment to the school board in 2006.
Martinez was appointed to the board in June 2006. At the time current Superintendent Ken Hoover had been on the job for one month. Hoover was hired in July 2006.
Kolrud served on the school board from 2007 to 2011. She beat Martinez in the 2006 election.
“My concern is where did it go with the superintendent,” Kolrud said.
Another district policy mandated by state law controls how long school records are retained, and reports made to child protective services are kept for six years.
The school counselor’s report would have been made more than six years ago, O’Neil said. Any record of the report is no longer in the district’s system.
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