Accused child rapist jailed without bail for contacting victims
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
August 25, 2008 · Updated 12:12 PM
An Oak Harbor man charged with 30 counts of sexually abusing children from his church violated court orders by calling one of his alleged victims from the Island County jail, according to the prosecutor's office.
At an emergency hearing Wednesday, Island County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Colleen Kenimond requested that 21-year-old Nathan Martinez be held without bail pending trial.
On the other side, Martinez's attorney, Darrin Hall of Coupeville, said it's unclear whether his client called the alleged victim's family or whether the family called him.
"There's no indication that he actually spoke to one of the children," Hall said.
But Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock agreed with the prosecution and revoked the previously-imposed $250,000 bail.
On Monday, Martinez pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree child rape, 19 counts of child molestation in the first degree and one count of attempted child molestation in the first degree.
All of the child-rape charges involve one 5-year-old child, while eight other children are identified as victims in the remaining charges. The alleged victims are both boys and girls, ages 3 to 12.
Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace said Martinez is accused of sexually assaulted the children while he was babysitting them. He met the families at the Living Faith Christian Center in Oak Harbor, where he was a volunteer in the Sunday school program.
Kenimond said she found out that Martinez had called one of the children because telephone calls from the jail are routinely recorded.
In addition, Kenimond said Martinez wrote three letters addressed to four of the children and their parents.
According to Kenimond, the letters were mailed from the jail to Martinez’s sister and delivered by her to at least two of the four families involved.
But again, Hall had a different take on what occurred. He said the letters were for the families, not the children.
For Martinez, contact with the children would violate a pretrial condition barring him from having contact with any person under the age of 18. Also, Kenimond said the call and letters violated the sexual assault protection order entered in the case, which protects Martinez’s alleged victims.
In an unusual wrinkle in the case, Hall said it's his "suspicion" that the parents of the victims are supportive of Martinez. He said the families and other members of the church have tried to contact Martinez at the jail.
One of the families he spoke to "expressed concern both for the children and Mr. Martinez," Hall said.
In fact, Hall said he asked Judge Hancock to modify Martinez's pretrial conditions by not allowing him to make phone calls from the jail expect to the office of his attorney, as well as preventing him from having contact with victims' parents, his sister and the church pastors unless his attorney in present.
Kenimond also was in favor of the conditions, which Hancock authorized.
Detective Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor Police began investigating the case after parents of four of the alleged victims and Martinez went to the police together Aug. 4. Martinez admitted he had touched some of the children, the detective wrote in her report.
“He told me ... he knew what he was doing was wrong so he would apologize to the children afterward ...” Gardner wrote. “He would stop for awhile and then start again.”
In a taped interview with the police, Martinez gave detailed statements of how he sexually assaulted eight of the children, though he denied intentionally "doing anything" to the child he's accused of attempting to molest, Gardner wrote.
The alleged assaults occurred between June 1, 2007, and July 31, 2008.
Martinez told the deputy that he had been sexually molested for 10 years as a child.
If convicted of all the charges, Martinez could face up to 26 years and six months in prison under the standard sentencing range.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.