Mother of Oak Harbor molestation victims speaks out
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
August 27, 2008 · Updated 8:33 AM
The mother of children allegedly molested by a man from an Oak Harbor church held a small press conference at the Island County courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
The Oak Harbor resident, who didn't want to be named in order to protect her children, was responding to widespread media reports about church leaders and families of the child victims who were reportedly supporting Nathan Martinez, a shocking revelation to some in the community.
"I choose to stand up for my children no matter who gets mad at me," she said.
Martinez, a 21-year-old Oak Harbor resident, is facing 30 counts of sex crimes he allegedly committed against children while he was babysitting them. He met the families of the boys and girls, ages 3 to 12, through Living Faith Christian Center in Oak Harbor, where he volunteered for the Sunday school program.
In a prepared speech, the woman explained that she didn't want people to think that all the families were supporting Martinez and not the children.
"I am standing behind my children 100 percent to get them help," she said. "They are doing fine."
In an interview, the woman explained that she knew Martinez for more than two years and he always seemed like a very likeable, trustworthy fellow. She was distressed when another family called her and told her about the allegations. She spoke to her own children one-by-one and the horrible truth came out.
"I was completely shocked," she said. "Total disbelief."
She said she understands that church members have sympathy for Martinez, but she said is focusing on her children. She didn't want to discuss her current relationship with the church.
"I don't want people to think I'm more concerned about him," she said. "I'm more concerned about my children."
As for Martinez, the woman hopes he gets the help he needs. She suspects that he came to the church looking for guidance.
"I look at church like a hospital," she said. "and he came to church to get help."
Last week, 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.
He's being held in jail without bail.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.