UPDATE: Jury Acquits Concord Elementary School Teacher of Some Molestation Counts, Hung on Others

August 14, 2014 19:43 pm · 50 comments

clancy

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A Contra Costa County Superior Court jury today acquitted a Concord elementary school teacher of molestation charges involving three former students and deadlocked on counts involving nearly a dozen others.

Joseph Martin, 46, a Martinez resident and longtime teacher at Concord’s Woodside Elementary School, was arrested in June 2013 after a parent reported that he had inappropriately touched her son.

The accusers alleged that the teacher rubbed, brushed and inappropriately touched 14 of his former students in different incidents over seven years, both in his classroom and at his home.

Prosecutors eventually charged Martin with molesting the 14 boys.

A clerk read the verdicts in a Martinez courtroom this afternoon, finding Martin not guilty of 21 charges of lewd and lascivious acts involving three students and deadlocking on more than 90 similar charges involving the 11 other purported victims.

The jury was hung on the remaining charges, with a split of either three to nine or 11 to one, prompting Judge Mary Ann O’Malley to declare a mistrial for those counts.

Martin is set to return to court in Martinez on Sept. 8, when a decision could be made about a possible re-trial, according to attorneys.

Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts, who tried the case, said that decision would depend on “a huge number of factors.”

Until then, Martin will remain in county jail in Martinez on $10 million bail.

Butts said after today’s court hearing that he was disappointed by the jury’s verdict.

“We had all these children come in and testify, which in and of itself is a very traumatic event,” Butts said.

“To think they did that essentially for nothing is disturbing,” the prosecutor said.

During the trial, Butts painted Martin as a teacher who became obsessed with certain male students and took advantage of his position of trust to get closer to them, both physically and emotionally.

During the nine-week trial, the jury heard testimony from the accusers, who recounted how Martin would reach underneath their shirts and touch them. Some testified that he would occasionally massage them or have them sit on his lap.

In one incident, according to Martin’s testimony, he kissed one of the boys on the cheek as he consoled him about a recently deceased sibling.

Other evidence presented at trial included testimony from parents who said Martin would shower their boys with gifts and treats and wouldn’t take no for an answer when they told him their children couldn’t spend time with him after school.

Jurors also saw numerous personal letters the teacher sent to the boys in which he expressed his love for them.

But the defendant insisted that the sentiments were platonic. He testified that while he was affectionate with his students and spent time with some boys outside of school, he never touched them inappropriately.

Today in court Martin wore a gray suit and sat stoically next to his attorney, Patrick Clancy, as the verdicts were read, sometimes looking back at his family members sitting in the audience.

Had he been convicted on all charges, Martin could have received multiple lifetime prison sentences, a factor Butts said he always worried might affect the jury’s decision.

Clancy, on the other hand, said the verdicts merely reflected the jury’s belief in his client’s innocence.

Standing outside the courtroom today, the attorney reiterated his argument during the trial that the accusations against his client stemmed from “mass hysteria” fueled by gossip and exaggerations that spiraled out of control.

He has said Martin would pat his students in the collarbone area, but never reached rubbed their bare chests and stomachs as the accusers alleged.

Clancy said the case is the “worst false allegation case since the McMartin case of the 1980s,” in which operators of a Manhattan Beach, Calif. preschool were accused of sexually abusing children in their care. A jury eventually acquitted the defendants.

The attorney said he believes Martin’s case also reflects the vulnerable position of male elementary school teachers to accusations of pedophilia or inappropriate touching.

“If you’re a man, I would not be teaching elementary school,” he said. “It’s that bad.”

Clancy said he “seriously doubts” that Martin will return to teach at Woodside Elementary and that “it would probably be best if he didn’t teach again.”

The defendant’s wife, Jennifer Martin, said outside the courthouse this afternoon that she was relieved the jury “saw the true facts of the case.”

She described her husband as a devoted father to their two young daughters and a dedicated teacher who wants to see his students succeed in life.

“It’s been a very long journey having two little girls and being separated from my husband, it’s been very difficult,” she said.

She said she and her family are prepared to be there to support Martin if the district attorney’s office decides to re-try the case.

Photo credit: Joe

Photos: (top) Defense Attorney Patrick Clancy – (bottom) Joe Martin’s wife, Jennifer

1 anon August 14, 2014 at 8:13 PM

No mistrial, let him go. Stop wasting my tax dollars persecuting someone who is simply affectionate. Psycho-gossip-moms, get a hobby.

2 SKS August 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Not guilty.. just like OJ.

3 frenchdawg August 14, 2014 at 8:41 PM

always thought it was sort of a witch hunt now I hope his life and reputation wont be totally ruined

4 Still anon August 14, 2014 at 9:01 PM

You don’t let students sit between your legs at circle time. Never, never, never! What fifth grade teacher has CIRCLE TIME??????!!!!! Never!

5 Melvin Belli August 14, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Once again proof that the only people that end up on a jury are those that are too stupid to get out of it

6 Woodside Parent August 14, 2014 at 9:12 PM

I would hope you would all go to the previous thread about this. There are many comments there.

I love the Mayor but now people who just got home from work and are winding down won’t scroll down to see the posts from the earlier news story.

7 Walnut Creek Resident August 14, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Yes he is just a real neat guy and the hysterical parents and prosecutors can relax and FORGET ABOUT IT! Stop wasting our time and money and do something that is worthy.

8 KAD August 14, 2014 at 9:36 PM

I did not think he was guilty.

9 Cracky McGee August 14, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Sad. Just sad. Still ashamed to acknowledge I live in Concord ….

10 Schmee August 14, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I think that if its ok for male teachers to rub boys chests then women teachers should rub girls chests. The boys would pay more attention in class

11 Tom August 14, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Saddened by all the naïve people who can’t recognize a pedophile (grooming the victim).

Are you parents, and if so, responsible ones?

And society wonders why so many children are molested. Wow.

I agree with #2 and #5.

12 Claycordian August 14, 2014 at 10:49 PM

My daughter was in his class in ’06 and I always had a creepy feeling about him. But unfortunately it is up to the court and a jury of his peers to decide what is real & what is hearsay.

If he did actually abuse his students he won’t be the first teacher at Woodside to do so Ms. ********* who was my 4th grade teacher tied us to our desks, and would throw chalk an erasers at our heads. That was when she wasn’t screaming at the top of her lungs.

I was reading the opinions about the other teachers at Woodside and I can not praise Nina Pate enough for seeing that my youngest needed extra help because he was friendless. She ensured that he was able to go and meet with the resource teacher and work on those skills. She stayed in contact with us all the way through Jr. High School.

13 CLAYCORD.com August 14, 2014 at 10:59 PM

DO NOT POST NAMES OF MINORS.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO NAME A CHILD RELATED TO THIS STORY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

IF YOU DO POST THE NAME OF A CHILD, YOU WILL BE BANNED FROM CLAYCORD.com AND YOUR IP ADDRESS WILL BE TURNED OVER TO THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN YOU NAMED.

14 Claycordian August 14, 2014 at 11:28 PM

Please note I did not post the name of a minor but the name of a teacher whom parented my own mother at the time as well because I was part of a group of kids that the teacher whose name Mrs. Youngston treated horribly. The year was 1978 the school was Woodside.

15 CLAYCORD.com August 14, 2014 at 11:36 PM

Claycordian, the comment wasn’t directed towards you.

16 Gabriel LeBaron August 14, 2014 at 11:38 PM

My daughter was in the class of Mr. Martin and he did do unspeakable things and spoon fed the kids whip cream and posed with them. He made several copies, sent pictures of himself home, and give 11X14 valentines to his students stating he loved them… now im not a lawyer or a judge but if any of you claycordians had that type of affection from a teacher please let me know what school you went to because i grew up in the mount diablo school district too and I NEVER EVER experienced what my child had to go through.. the jury didnt vote Casey ANTHONY GUILITY NEITHER… DOESNT MEAN SHE DIDNT DO IT!!! keep it real claycordians

17 Gabriel LeBaron August 14, 2014 at 11:39 PM

KAD WAS CASEY ANTHONY GUILITY?

18 Chris August 15, 2014 at 5:25 AM

“No mistrial, let him go. Stop wasting my tax dollars persecuting someone who is simply affectionate. Psycho-gossip-moms, get a hobby.”

Bingo. And claycord’s obsession with attacking local teachers is pretty pathetic too.

19 Anon777 August 15, 2014 at 5:58 AM

GUILTY AS SIN!

20 miggitymike August 15, 2014 at 7:24 AM

As upsetting as it may be to some, he had his day in court and the decisions (and lack of) we’re handed down. It’s time to move on. I hope they don’t retry him on the other counts because its a huge waste of tax dollars and also traumatic to the kids that testify. Obviously there was reasonable doubt and the jury decided based on that. There is no clear factual evidence or he would have been convicted.

21 It's really simple August 15, 2014 at 7:58 AM

on the charges he was found not guilty, he is free and clear.

On the charges where the jury was deadlocked, the DA can retry. The DA takes cases to court where they believe it win. All other cases are not tried. Only the DA knows what the DA will do next.

Martin’s reputation is already gone, guilt by association. That is how this society acts. He may be innocent on all outstanding counts. No one will ever trust him.

People can be sure that if Martin is indeed a molester, he will molest again and he will be caught again. Molesters cannot help themselves. Molestation is an incurable malady.

22 Voice Of Reason August 15, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Creepy behavior? Yes
Inappropriate teacher-student boundaries? Yes
Desires or urges to go farther than he did? Who Knows
Fired or removed from teaching? Maybe

Charged with 150 counts facing multiple life terms in prison? Absolutely not

The DA is at fault for wasting the time and money of this county, for preparing a crappy case, for overcharging the accused, and for buying into the overzealous mob mentality that makes up this community.

The Jury has spoken- like it or not this man’s life is ruined. Move on people.

23 Anonymous August 15, 2014 at 8:52 AM

11to 1 for guilty you can bet they will try him again..

24 Momboz August 15, 2014 at 8:59 AM

For the number of charges against Joseph Martin, the jury came to their conclusions remarkably quickly. It appears that some of them believed the testimonies of the boys, and every count deserved study and clear-headed deliberation. Many of these boys were as young as nine years old, and Mr. Martin’s alleged actions were probably confusing and unsettling to them. This jury has sent a message that even though the testimony of 11 of the boys was truthful, nipple rubbing is not a crime. Our legal system has failed us.

25 Jesse August 15, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Anonymous #23, you have it backwards. The jury voted 11 not guilty to 1 guilty on the charges relating to one boy. They voted 9 not guilty to 3 guilty on charges relating to 10 boys. They acquitted Martin on all charges relating to three boys.

In an interview with the Contra Costa Times, one of the jurors said they were looking for reasonable doubt. The judge told them that if there were two reasonable explanations for something, they had to go with the one that indicated Martin was not guilty.

26 badmedia August 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Once again the media has twisted information as much as possible to convict an innocent man. Too many of you seem to believe whatever you hear. How many of you that are Woodside parents can remember a more popular teacher than Mr. Martin? The reason was not because he violated the students. Parents are so ignorant sometimes, it truly is disgusting!

27 Atticus Thraxx August 15, 2014 at 1:12 PM

The media? He was arrested and charged with like 111 criminal counts! WTF are you talking about?

28 stan August 15, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Damn all you who support this pedophile, my children were victims of this monster. Even many of the teachers were aware of his behavior, and reported it over many years. Long before any Psycho-gossip-mom ever entered the picture. DA has failed again, the only waist in tax dollars here is the pathetic DA office.

@ Chris you are obviously a prejudice idiot who should probably keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot, rather than open it and remove all doubt

29 Anon August 15, 2014 at 2:13 PM

He needs to be fired for touching students. You don’t do that in any way, sexual, comforting, rubbing under the shirt, etc. Never.

I always kept my classroom door open at all times.

30 Randy August 15, 2014 at 2:25 PM

I’m sorry…I’ve met moms at elementary school and I know how “mass hysteria” fueled by gossip and exaggerations that spiraled out of control.” can happen.

We live in a world where an adult man now thinks twice about showing affection to his kids, much less other peoples kids, for fear of looking like a pervert. My wife pointed that out when I told one of my sons friends, after he had told a joke, ‘I love you, man’. She said ‘If he goes home and tells his parents you said ‘I love you’ all it takes is him saying it with a different tone and it takes on a different meaning.’

I’m not discounting these allegations. If they were true, we need to prosecute and put these people away…forever. But we all need to be open and aware that every time a parent yells ‘child molester’ it may not be true.

31 Tony Tone August 15, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Wait a minute, what???? Let me say this somehing went wrong here during the investigation and the police could of done a better job. How long did Comcord PD stonewall this investigation??? why is it that when MDUSD were avoiding Concord PD and being cooperative why was the principals and district managers involved were not arrested and charged? ?? Im sorry but if this preditor walks I blame Concord PD for not taking the necessary steps to make this an AIR TIGHT CASE.

The Concord PD are known for sitting on cases for months and letting collect dust. I’ve been in law enforment for several years and I can tell you more should of been done on this case for sake of the kids, MDUSD protected this preditor. Now, how many more will they allow to hurt our kids!

Call me an idiot, stupid and bull headed ox, or whatever you wish, but at the end of the day these are our kids and they have the right to be protected and not placed on harms way again.

32 Tony Tone August 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Wait a minute, what???? Let me say this somehing went wrong here during the investigation and the police could of done a better job. How long did Concord PD stonewall this investigation??? why is it that when MDUSD refused to cooperative with the police why is it the principals and district managers involved were not arrested and charged? ?? Im sorry but if this preditor walks I blame Concord PD for not taking the necessary steps to make this an AIR TIGHT CASE.

The Concord PD are known for sitting on cases for months and letting collect dust. I’ve been in law enforment for several years and I can tell you more should of been done on this case for sake of the kids, MDUSD protected this preditor. Now, how many more will they allow to hurt our kids!

Call me an idiot, stupid and a bull headed ox, or whatever you wish, but at the end of the day these are our kids and they have the right to be protected and not placed on harms way again.

Revised

33 frenchdawg August 15, 2014 at 9:49 PM

It”s waste not waist # 29 #31 really ” prediter ” give me a break . Do yourself a favor don’t write anymore posts .

34 frenchdawg August 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

people learn how to spell before you spew your crap

35 No Name August 15, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I wonder what those retards are going to think and feel when they hear about another child being molested, idiots.

36 Pharmy Fashion August 15, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Grammar it is not a big deal for a police taking care of our kids,!

37 Pharmy Fashion August 15, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Thanks Tony Tone for all good things I’m pretty sure you are been doing for our kids.

38 Tony Tone August 15, 2014 at 11:52 PM

French dawg!!! I refuse to entertain someone such as yourself who choses to bash others such as myself who have the right to post on this forum sir or maam!!! I’ll tell you what sir, I’m speaking from experience as a peace officer and as someone who was wrongfully profiled by a CPD officer who shot from the hip instead of getting all the facts.

39 Tony Tone August 15, 2014 at 11:59 PM

I’m not taking up for this man at all, but the Police should made a good faith effort to make sure this predator would never have the opportunity to injure children again. I’m a parent and that give me the right to be concerned about my kid and his fellow classmates.

40 Steve August 16, 2014 at 2:01 AM

I think the outcome of this trial would have been different if the victims had been girls, which is a sad commentary on the double standards practiced in our society. Inappropriate touching is wrong no matter who the victim is. Enough said.

41 CW August 16, 2014 at 5:21 AM

I was harassed by my high school math teacher. He turned my failing grade into a C in exchange for me giving him back rubs. Ick, ick, ick. I was 17 so maybe he thought that he could “up the ante” as soon as I was legally an adult. I never gave him the chance because I went into the school to drop the class (over my clueless parents’ objections) on my birthday. I never did report him, but if he’d ever been accused by someone else, I would’ve come forward.

42 Jeulz August 16, 2014 at 7:59 AM

From the beginning I choose to remain neutral. My children were in Mr. Martins class and I was one of his room parents. I never had a problem or saw anything I was concerned about, I spoke to my boys and they said the same thing… I also worked for the district…. I resigned because kids wanted to hug me, climb into my lap, hold my hand and I was concerned about any over reacting… sadly this is what is today… No comfort, show no concern, remove any children trying to hug or touch you, etc… I will still remain neutral and was not surprised by this verdict. I remember one time one of my sons said something to me about an older boy doing to him in in our neighborhood and I freaked.. I immediately took him into our Doctors who had professionals there… it was boy talk… nothing more. I was a victim of an attempted molestation when just 4 years old and thru professional help I learned I completely over reacted.. Thankfully….

43 @Pharmy August 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Tony Tone is not a cop. He’s “in law enforcement”, which means he probably empties the wastebaskets at City Hall and watches CSI a lot.

44 @ Chris #18 August 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Chris if you read any of what I posted then you can tell I am not attacking local teachers nearly speaking my truth.

If you I fact read post #12 all the way through it finished with high praise for my youngest sons3rd grade teacher at Woodside.

45 Pharmy Fashion August 16, 2014 at 9:20 AM

If Martin is released from prison, even do he is not teaching again, hi chances are that he can commit the same crime again,he is been with evil for more than 20 years.I’m asking Can a smoker for more than 20 years can quite suddenly forever?…..

46 Torch and pitchfork August 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Please vent all of your stupidity on line and don’t do anything stupid because you didn’t get to see your hanging.

Then stay at home and wait for someone to tell you the new thing to be mad at.

Dumb ~#ck villagers

47 Pharmy Fashion August 16, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Martin in his own words… Evil in his head!

48 anon August 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM

If he actually had molested anyone he would be guilty without a doubt, none of this overzealous-gossipy-bored-soccer-mom mob-mentality witch hunt BS. Out of all of those kids, none of them were molested!

I feel sorry for teachers.

49 G.Tobar August 21, 2014 at 5:44 PM

My friend’s daughter was in Martin’s class the same year that he was removed from the school. Luckily, they moved early in the school year. My friend’s daughter walked to school with me an my son sometimes. On one occasion, she was afraid to arrive to class even though she arrived exactly as the bell rang. She was terrified of Martin. And it’s also interesting to note that Martin’s classroom windows were all papered over,so no passersby could peek in at the classroom while in session, nor after school.

Martin frequently supervised after school activities when preparing kids for talent show performances. I believe he had ample opportunity to abuse children in the privacy of his classroom. Classroom doors at the elementary school are always locked to outsiders. But every class I’ve seen has unobstructed windows. If all the windows are papered over, nobody can see in to determine what is occurring behind the locked door.

I don’t believe all those children and families made up the abuse. There has to be truth in the complaints.

50 Gabriel LeBaron August 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

IF HE WAS INNOCENT WHY DID MRS. NINA PATE THATS RIGHT IM SAYING HER NAME BECAUSE SHE IS JUST AS GUILITY FOR NOT TELLING ME MY DAUGHTER WAS IN A MONSTERS CLASS WHEN SHE HAD MY SON IN HERS.. SHE DIDNT WANT TO LOSE HER RETIREMENT.. THEY MAKE ME SICK… AND JENNY CRONAN FOR LETTING HIM COME INTO THE CLASSROOM TO CONFRONT THE KIDS.. SHE IS AT OAK GROVE TEACHING NOW .. WOW …PUTTING THEIR HEADS DOWN AND ASKING THEM WHO FELT THEY TOUCHED THEM INAPPROPRIATE COME ON NOW.. A REAL TEACHER WOULD KNOW THEY DIDNT DO ANYTHING WRONG AND FEAR NO INVESTIGATION… HE WAS GOGGLING WHAT THEY WOULD DO TO HIM IN PRISON.. COME ON NOW WAKE UP..

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