EVERETT — For years Carlos Martinez was seen as one of the good guys. As part of his duties, the charismatic former Monroe police sergeant went into elementary schools to teach children how to avoid falling under the spell of drug dealers and others who meant to do them harm.
It was in a classroom where he encountered a lonely little 10-year-old with long blonde hair. By 15, she was working as the family babysitter and was infatuated with the police officer who had taken such an interest in her.
Without her knowledge, Martinez hid surveillance cameras in the bathroom so he could film the teen while she showered during visits at his home. In time, he later admitted, he began having sex with her. He insisted that didn’t happen, though, until she was 18 — well beyond the age of consent.
She was then a senior in high school. Martinez was married and 52.
On Thursday, the ex-cop and former School Board member stood before Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes and was excoriated for what the judge called betrayal of the former babysitter “on a colossal scale.”
He sentenced Martinez to 14 months in prison, the top punishment under the law.
The judge, who presided over the case while it wound its way through years of hearings and a lengthy trial, said he’d seen enough evidence to know Martinez’ behavior warranted “condemnation in the strongest possible terms.”
“You are way, way out of line,” he told him.
At the same time, the judge acknowledged, there were complex legal issues in the case, and Martinez, 61, has a right to appeal.
Instead of ordering the defendant be immediately taken into custody, the judge said he can remain free on $50,000 appellate bond.
Downes said he didn’t like it but was convinced that’s what the law requires.
A jury in November found Martinez guilty of voyeurism and possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The felonies stemmed from Martinez’ secret videotaping at his former Monroe home in 2004. The tapes 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.
Although jurors found Martinez guilty of voyeurism, they also determined prosecutors had not proven the young woman learned she was spied on within the statute of limitations necessary when the case was filed in 2013.
At the request of defense attorney Mark Mestel, the judge on Thursday vacated Martinez’ conviction on that count.
Martinez told jurors his motives were pure when he secretly filmed the babysitter in the shower. He claimed he was looking for signs that she was hurting herself. The relationship that came later failed because it revolved around two things, he testified: “Sex. And my vanity.”
Deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul urged the judge to hold Martinez accountable.
In a memo filed prior to sentencing, Paul wrote about the evidence that showed how he’d groomed the girl for years. Martinez kept an extensive collection of explicit videos and photos of his victim, and the shower recordings of her at 15 were something he “coveted” and kept for his sexual gratification, jurors were told.
As conditions of his sentence, Martinez must register as a sex offender, undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and have no contact with his victim for 10 years.
“He really used this young woman,” Downes said.
Now in her mid-20s, the young woman spent multiple days on the witness stand during the trial. She presented powerful but at times conflicting testimony about the years she spent with the former cop.
The former babysitter chose not to be in court Thursday, the prosecutor said.
“She’s moved on with her life,” Paul said.