The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the conviction of former Monroe police Sgt. Carlos Martinez, seen here during his Aug. 13, 2013 arraignment hearing, for engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor he groomed for years. (Jennifer Buchanan / Herald file)

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the conviction of former Monroe police Sgt. Carlos Martinez, seen here during his Aug. 13, 2013 arraignment hearing, for engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor he groomed for years. (Jennifer Buchanan / Herald file)

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

EVERETT — A former Monroe police sergeant has failed to convince an appellate court to overturn his 2015 conviction for sex crimes involving the teenage babysitter who had watched his children years ago.

A Snohomish County Superior Court jury found Carlos Alberto Martinez guilty of voyeurism and possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Both felonies stemmed from his secretly videotaping a 15-year-old babysitter while she took showers in 2004 in the bathroom of his former Monroe home.

Martinez met the girl when she was 10 and he was teaching her drug-abuse resistance education class, better known as DARE. Jurors were told he spent years grooming her for a sexual relationship, something that eventually happened, and lasted well into her 20s.

Martinez, now 63, spent nearly two decades as a police officer in Monroe, and at one point was so well respected that he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the school board.

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison — time he has yet to serve while pursuing his appeals.

Among other things, Martinez argued that his rights were violated when detectives with the Washington State Patrol examined a mirror image of his computer hard drive without a warrant.

In a decision released Tuesday, the state Court of Appeals said Martinez’ argument was unpersuasive.

Texas police lawfully seized the hard drive and were not acting as agents for Washington at the time, the court found.

Under established legal doctrine, “evidence lawfully obtained under the laws of another jurisdiction is admissible in Washington courts even if the manner the evidence was obtained would violate Washington law,” the court wrote.

The hard drive was obtained in a manner that would be lawful not only in Texas but in this state as well, the court found.

The recordings wound up in police hands after the young woman ended her connection with Martinez in Texas, where she’d moved with him to be his live-in girlfriend. The Washington State Patrol began investigating in 2012 after it was contacted by an FBI task force based in San Antonio.

Martinez testified at his trial. He claimed he videotaped the then-babysitter in the shower without her knowledge out of concern that she may be cutting herself.

He also admitted having sex with her, but insisted that didn’t happen until she was 18 — well beyond the age of consent.

She was then a senior in high school. Martinez was married and 52.

At sentencing, Judge Michael Downes said Martinez had engaged in betrayal “on a colossal scale” and that his behavior warranted “condemnation in the strongest possible terms.”

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

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