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The Bizarre World of Florida

Deputy accused of groping disabled woman is fired August 4, 2012

An Orange County deputy accused of groping a disabled woman during an unauthorized call for service in October has been fired.

Deputy William Martinez was terminated in May, several months after he was arrested on three counts of lewd/lascivious molestation of an elderly or disabled person as a result of an internal investigation. He has since pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A seven-month internal investigation found 56-year-oldMartinez in violation of several policies including conformance to laws, unbecoming conduct and failure to cooperate with an internal investigation or inquiry. Before he was fired, Martinez was placed on unpaid leave and had his law enforcement powers revoked.

A 27-page investigative summary released by the Sheriff’s Office in response to a public records request by the Orlando Sentinel details Martinez’s behavior. Investigators also uncovered Martinez’s “pattern of unusual contact with females” who called 911 or requested deputy assistance.

Martinez, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in May 2008, was assigned to patrol the northwest area of the county. Before that he spent 14 years at the Apopka Police Department before he retired in 2006, records show.

Investigators found at least three other cases in which Martinez made repeated contact with female callers, including three teenage girls, after encountering them during legitimate calls for service. The teens said Martinez would send them text messages and visit them often.

He would also hug them, try to kiss them on the cheek and often told them they were beautiful, reports show. One teen described Martinez’s actions as “creepy.” Another girl said she received a text message from Martinez, stating he wanted to be “her special friend,” reports show.

Investigators say Martinez’s actions with the teens were similar to actions reported by the disabled groping victim.

That woman, who suffers from an undisclosed disability that requires the use of a walker, told deputies Martinez went to her home between 2:30 a.m and 4 a.m. on Oct. 31 to check on her well-being.

Days earlier the victim met Martinez when she called 911 after she was battered by her boyfriend. Martinez, who responded as a back-up deputy, used a police database to find the woman’s cell phone number and called her under the guise that he was following up on the crime.

Martinez exchanged text messages with the victim on a personal pre-paid cell phone and offered to visit her. Martinez later told investigators he kept that phone a secret from his wife.

According to the report, during the text message exchange the victim told him she felt ashamed because of the earlier domestic violence incident. Martinez wrote back and said “U r a beautiful woman! U just not found someone willing to hold u in their arms and carress [sic] you with real affection.”

The victim agreed to allow Martinez to visit her at her home, but told investigators she thought he was there for official business. He arrived at 2:30 a.m. in his patrol car and was wearing a sheriff’s deputy uniform. He did not alert his bosses or the communications operators that he was going to the victim’s home, reports show.

 

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