An Oklahoma City police sergeant accused of molesting foster and adopted children in his care resigned Tuesday, saying through his attorneys that he doesn't think it's right that he get paid while he is unable to work.
Maurice Martinez's resignation letter is effective as of Sunday. Martinez is being held at the Oklahoma County jail without bail. He is charged with 37 criminal counts including threatening a witness, harboring a runaway juvenile, possession of child pornography and multiple charges of sexual abuse of a child.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 22.
Martinez has been on administrative leave since he was arrested in January, continuing to be paid even though he is effectively suspended from duty.
Martinez's attorneys submitted his resignation letter Tuesday afternoon at police headquarters. Afterward, they explained why he resigned.
“Sgt. Martinez maintains that he is innocent of all the charges against him but believes it would be unfair to the citizens to have to pay him his salary until he finally gets his opportunity to prove his innocence in a court of law,” Attorney Pat Crawley said. “Right now he feels frustrated and odd that he is getting paid and he can't do his job.”
Martinez might have lost his job soon anyway. He was involved in an internal police disciplinary process separate from the criminal case against him. Oklahoma City police said Martinez had been notified of an administrative hearing where the case would be heard and he could defend himself.
After that hearing, it would have been left to Chief Bill Citty whether to fire Martinez.
Another of Martinez's attorneys, David Slane, said the administrative process played into Martinez's decision to resign as he might have been forced to defend himself on the allegations before the matter came to trial.
“Everything plays into this,” Slane said. “I think when Maurice speaks for the first time it needs to be in a courtroom when he is under oath and he's standing in front of a judge or a jury. As a practical matter, I think he realizes that it would be almost impossible to be a police officer right now while all these charges are pending.”
Martinez's attorneys said he will be vindicated in court but declined to address some of the evidence against him, including nude photos of some of his foster children police said were found on his cellphone and computer.
“I could answer that question, but it's more appropriate to do it in the courtroom,” Slane said. “There is going to be an explanation for all of that.”
Martinez is also accused of threatening to kill at least one of his accusers and resisting when police tried to arrest him a second time when they said he was found harboring runaway juveniles.
“Once he has his day in court, I think everyone is going to be surprised at some of the answers you hear,” Slane said. “We have eyewitnesses who saw what the police did that day, and we are going to bring in other witnesses.”