Whidbey Navy officer accused of paying teenager for sex

A Navy officer is facing sex trafficking charges for allegedly raping a 14-year-old he met on an app

A Navy officer stationed on Whidbey Island is facing sex trafficking charges for allegedly raping a 14-year-old boy after meeting him through a “hookup app” and paying him $200, according to court papers.

Lt. Cmdr. Lucas Martinez, also known as Lucas Martinezmendieta, was arrested at his Oak Harbor home on March 13.

Prosecutors charged 62-year-old Martinez in Skagit County Superior Court March 14 with two counts of commercial sexual abuse of a minor, one count of rape of a child in the third degree and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Martinez appeared in court that day and the judge set his bail at $100,000. Martinez posted bail March 19 and was released from jail, according to court documents.

The Whidbey News-Times received a message that Martinez was back at work this week at the base. The News-Times did not receive a comment from the Navy by press time about Martinez’ current status at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The news site Task and Purpose reported that Martinez is assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Northwest while an investigation is ongoing.

An initial investigation by the Anacortes Police Department began in January after the mother of the alleged victim reported discovering Amazon packages with sex toys and sexy costumes delivered to her home. He middle-school-age son reported that he had been communicating with men who purchased item for him from his Amazon wishlist.

The boy was posing as an 18-year-old man, and police at the time found that no crime had occurred.

But in February, the boy admitted to his mother that a man, later identified as Martinez, had come to the family house and paid him $200 for sex, according to a report by a detective with the Anacortes Police Department. The boy said he met him through Sniffles, which Wikipedia describes as a “map-based hookup web app for gay, bisexual and bicurious men.”

The boy claimed to be 18 on the app, but the detective wrote that he appears to be a young teen in person. Several people on the Sniffles site questioned his real age, the report states.

The boy reported that he exchanged phone numbers with Martinez, who agreed to pay him money for sex, the report states. Martinez allegedly showed up at the boy’s home in a green camouflage Navy uniform, the detective wrote.

The detective obtained messages between the boy and Martinez through a search warrant for the Sniffles site. Martinez continued to send images and write to the boy through the app, saying that he was planning on giving him $1,000 a month to keep seeing him, according to the report.

The detective wrote that he identified Martinez through his Sniffles profile and through phone records obtained with a warrant. The phone number was traced to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, the report states.

Martinez was arrested without incident at his home on March 13. He told a detective that he “never slept with a minor, let alone rape.”