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Appalling: 17-year-old Rape Victim Harassed and Belittled by Florida Deputy

25-year veteran fired after telling victim 'I own you,' and badgering her with wildly inappropriate questions.
 
 
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Florida Deputy Paul Martin, who came under fire for his questionable handling of a sexual assault case, was officially fired early this week after it was reported that he sexually harassed and intentionally intimidated a 17-year-old rape victim while handling her case. 

Based on the report released by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office, the 25-year-veteran was reported saying “horrendous” things to the victim, telling her “I own you” and “I control you destiny” in regards to the case’s progress. 

Additionally, the victim stated that Martin asked inappropriate questions like whether the suspect “put it in [her] butt” and whether it hurt or not, despite the fact that, by Martin’s own admission, there had been no indication of anal rape. At one point, the officer implies that the situation was more akin to prostitution than it was rape, stating that the whole situation “sounds like [his] ex-wife.” 

Martin’s badgering of the victim didn’t end there. According to the report, he asked whether “the guy was just flirting or was he saying ‘let’s fuck?’”, and asking whether the suspect “thought she had nice tits.” Upon learning that the victim was with another female friend shortly before the altercation, Martin asked whether she was “into girls too.” When confronted with some of the victim’s accusations, Martin not only didn’t deny such statements, but admitted his line of questioning was a tactic meant to scare the 17-year-old girl. He said that he “was trying to make her feel uncomfortable.” 

If all that is not daming enough, the final traw came when a child protection investigator noticed the detective attempting to reach out to lift the victim’s shirt after she’d made a passing comment about intentionally cutting herself years prior. 

“I’m not going to tolerate it, I’m not going to have it,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri during a press conference addressing the incident. “He engaged in really what was horrendous conduct.”  

This doesn’t mark the first time that (now-former) Deputy Martin found himself in hot water. Early this year, in July of 2013, it was revealed that Martin was under investigation by Internal Affairs for allegations of domestic violence, sex on the job, and associating with known drug dealers.

Martin told investigators that he was “indifferent to the victim’s feelings,” when interviewing her after the assault. After a previous disciplinary action—handed down after Martin reportedly handcuffed his ex-wife and physically assaulted her after he spotted her car at another man’s house—Martin’s tenure as Deputy was ended swiftly, bringing a long, sordid career to a halt.

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

 
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