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Deputy accused of suggestive comments to alleged rape victim

8:50 PM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy is out of a job, accused of inappropriate conduct while interviewing a 17-year-old alleged sexual assault victim then not properly filing a report.

Deputy Paul Martin was a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's office, but he had a list of disciplinary problems.

"I'm not going to tolerate it," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. "I'm not going to have it. This is the third issue since 2011."

The latest case involved the interview of a 17-year-old alleged rape victim. The sheriff said Deputy Martin asked the victim sexually inappropriate questions that had nothing to do with the case.

"He engaged in really what was horrendous conduct, totally inappropriate conduct."

Some of the questions were so dirty we were unable to repeat them on television. The victim later testified the detective's interview techniques were "awkward, weird, rude and uncomfortable..." making her "lose respect" for the detective.

"She mentioned somehow that she was with a friend going to Busch Gardens and he turns that into, 'Are you into girls and into lesbian sex?'" said Gualtieri.

According to the report, when questioning the victim about exchanging money for sex, he said, "Sounds like my ex-wife," and was also overheard by the victim saying he enjoyed going "to strip clubs."

The final straw was when a child protection investigator reported seeing the detective reach out to lift up the girl's shirt after she reported intentionally cutting herself years ago.

Martin said he was intentionally trying to make the victim feel uncomfortable so she'd tell the truth. The sheriff's office said he overstepped interview boundaries and violated agency policy.


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