Mother of victims says molester needs help

The mother of abuse victims holds a written statement read at a press conference. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
The mother of abuse victims holds a written statement read at a press conference.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

The mother of children allegedly molested by a man they met at an Oak Harbor church held a small press conference at the Island County courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

The Oak Harbor resident, who didn’t want her name revealed 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 the alleged molester, 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, was facing 30 counts of sex crimes he allegedly committed against children while he was babysitting them. On Thursday, he agreed to plead guilty to nine of those charges (see accompanying story). 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 she 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.”

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