Pinellas deputy fired for inappropriate 'sex investigation' - FOX 13 News

Pinellas deputy fired for inappropriate 'sex investigation'

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

He'd served with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for 25 years, but this July, investigators say deputy Paul Martin made the mistake of his career.

"He was dispatched to investigate an alleged sexual battery of a 17-year-old female victim," sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Monday.

Gualtieri says as Martin began questioning the victim, his comments took a suggestive turn.

"He engaged in really what was horrendous conduct, totally inappropriate conduct. The type of questioning he engaged in was sexual in nature," he said. "It had no probative value; it had no legitimate law enforcement value."

Internal affairs investigators say Martin talked about hanging out in strip clubs, used lewd language to the victim, and asked her if she had engaged in different sex acts.

"She mentioned somehow that she was with a friend going to Busch Gardens and he turns that into, 'Are you into girls and lesbian sex?" Gualtieri said.

Investigators say when Martin learned the victim had intentionally cut herself previously on her ribcage, he demanded to see the scars.

"He reached over and tried to raise her shirt. The Child Protection investigator who was there along with the female victim stopped it because they were afraid it would have exposed her breasts. There was no reason for this," Gualtieri said.

The sheriff said while Martin's actions aren't criminal, they are impermissible. He had no problem cutting off Martin's longtime agency career Monday.

"If there's something going on here that's wrong, I'm going to take effective action and deal with it," Gualtieri said.

This was Martin's third case of misconduct within the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office since 2011.

The sheriff says the two previous cases involved issues with his ex-wife. He was punished with a nearly two-week suspension for each of those cases.

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