The lawyers for a former elementary school janitor from Southern California who was convicted and sentenced to years in prison for sexually assaulting minors revealed that a jury had cleared their client.
According to a statement from his lawyers, the 11-count indictment against Pedro Martinez, a Hesperia resident who has been in prison since January 2019, was dismissed recently.
Martinez started working at the school in 2005.
In a statement, defense counsel Ian Wallach expressed his joy at Pedro Martinez’s acquittal on all charges and that he is now back home with his family.
Legal representation for Martinez leveled allegations of corruption and bungling against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office, claiming that the case had no valid evidence. They did not say if Martinez would sue, but they did say he is thinking about it.
Despite the disappointing result, the District Attorney’s office expressed gratitude to the jury for their deliberations in an email.
Martinez was arrested when a friend of one student’s family accused him of molesting boys at Maple Elementary School for months, his lawyers said. Multiple charges were brought against him.
Martinez’s lawyers claimed a sheriff’s officer without child interviewing training interviewed the boys who denied misconduct and then allegedly pushed one to admit assault.
A “mentally disturbed woman” who was dating one of the boys’ moms at the time was named by attorney Ian Wallach as an accuser.
He said the woman framed the allegations against Martinez to shift the focus away from the numerous allegations of child abuse that she herself had committed against the boy.
Even though DNA evaluations and conversations with school personnel could not link Martinez to any campus offenses, his attorneys said he was nevertheless detained.
Katherine Broom, a defense co-counsel, wrote in a statement that the allegations of child abuse are very concerning. She emphasized the need for law enforcement to respond promptly and conduct themselves professionally and with integrity at all times. In this instance, the police seemed to support the witch hunt and succumbed to self-preservation and pride.