How Long Did the MDUSD Know About the Child Molestation Allegations Against Elementary School Teacher Joe Martin?

July 3, 2013 9:28 am · 109 comments

Ever since exclusively reported on the arrest of Woodside Elementary teacher Joe Martin for child molestation, many commenters on Claycord, who are familiar with Martin, have been saying they had a bad feeling about the long-time teacher, and even told the district about their suspicions several years ago.

It is unclear when the Mt. Diablo Unified School District was notified about Martin’s alleged abuse, if at all, but one commenter says “The teachers did report these suspicions, starting several years ago, there was even an investigation several years ago by MDUSD (according to them) and nothing ever happened.”

Another person said she wants answers, too. “What is the responsibility of the MDUSD and Woodside now to contact all former students and parents? The news report states that the investigation has been on-going since April. As I stated before by child was in Mr. Martins class. I have not been contacted and can’t find anything on Woodside’s or MDUSD’s websites. I would not have known of this if it wasn’t for my older child seeing this on I have a very strong feeling that there are more victims and children who have information. Should not every parent and/or student be notified immediately?

In an effort to try and get some answers and clarification, emailed Interim MDUSD Superintendent Bernard & the MDUSD Board (Linda Mayo, Cheryl Hansen, Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks and Lynn Dennler), asking them if they could confirm that a complaint, or more than one complaint was made against Joe Martin. We also asked them when the alleged complaint was made, what the outcome was, and if the authorities were contacted?

So far, nobody has responded. If the public school district decides to talk, we’ll let you know.

As of right now, Joe Martin is still listed as a teacher on the website of Woodside Elementary, and the MDUSD hasn’t made a statement to say whether or not Joe Martin is still getting a paycheck from the district.

UPDATE: About 40 minutes after this story was posted, received an email from a person with knowledge of this case, who said the district did receive at least one complaint six years ago, and they claim the mandatory reporting to CPS and the police department was not done.

The MDUSD has yet to respond.


101 Doctors J, GO AWAY July 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Shame on you, Doctor J. We’re all on to you. We know you are a disgruntled MSUSD who spends her days posting negative comments about MDUSD. Using abused children to further your own personal agenda of hate is disgusting. Scuttle on back to the Contra Costa Times blog where you belong.

102 Another concerned parent July 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

@Against the Grain….
“Grow up” you say? I am all grown up and paying taxes that support the MDUSD and when our school needs support the most from the district, they FAIL!!! We are not asking for much, just caring and support – making information available to families has very little cost, but could be a HUGE SHOW of support to those who are most in need right now. This isn’t about a crutch or needing someone to “teach us how to parent”. Give me a break! This is about someone in the MDUSD putting a compassionate, human, caring face on this situation. This is about emotionally helping a community.

I don’t need anyone to “hold my hand”. I’ve talked to my child about the situation, but I’m fortunate enough to have the resources to provide information and support to my child. Not all families have that. And IT IS the responsibility of the school district to help those families suffering from the actions of one of THEIR employees. Someone THEY put in a classroom with OUR children.

103 Teacher July 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

I agree with # 101

104 K July 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM

@Another concerned parent–my sentiments exactly.

105 Brian Lawrence July 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

There are several posts on this subject since it is of great interest to the community, so forgive me for repeating my comment in multiple threads.

In order to let the legal process play out properly, I can’t comment on the specifics of the case. Superintendent Bernard put out a statement on June 29th that conveys the District’s position. Unfortunately that message did not reach Claycord for several days. I’ll work to see that we do better with that communication in the future.

There have been several questions directed towards me in a couple of the threads. As much as I enjoy Claycord, I don’t read every comment on every blog and will miss things. You can email me at or call me at 925-526-5354. I am legally unable to comment on personnel issues, but will do my best to answer other issues.

Like you, I’m horrified and heart-broken whenever I hear allegations of child abuse by a teacher.

Brian Lawrence
MDUSD Board Member

106 Md tech July 4, 2013 at 9:04 PM

A legal question:

For anyone who might know…. IF this man is convicted, and there is no other evidence of wrongdoing by other district employees, is there any district liability? Could the district be sued?
I’m assuming the if there was some neglect or other innapropriate action, or inaction that there would be some liability.

107 What July 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The 12 children have not been offered any counseling by the district…in fact, the district has never contacted them..everyone involved was contacted by the police…the district has not reached out to them in any way

108 Doctor J July 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM

@106 Here is a whole primer from the CA Dept of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention.
I don’t know if it answers your question or not.

109 Gabriel LeBaron July 9, 2013 at 1:49 AM

my daughter along with other children were photographed as he sprayed whip cream into their mouth, and told the students “don’t let it drip out” and several other inappropriate comments. I wonder how liberal the principals husband would be to allow me to have her in front of me, and have me tell her to tilt her head back, and let me fill her mouth with whip cream, and tell her don’t let it drip out as I photographed her, and personally develop the pictures. where was that in the state textbooks for the 5th grade. I would love to see where it shows, and who paid for those pictures to be developed? if they were innocent why were they hid from us parents till after the school year? If i get a t-shirt with the principals picture on it that say tilt your head back, and let me fill it with whip cream and don’t drop a drop how inappropriate would that be? would my son be allowed to wear it to school with pride. also I want to see a permission slip where I consented to that, or where I told the school it was ok for a teacher to spray whip cream into my child’s mouth, and how did they know my daughter wasn’t allegeric to whip cream. That’s a pure disregard for nothing more then him wanting these pictures for personal use.

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