Claim filed in Concord teacher sex abuse case

Joseph Martin
August 6, 2013 5:56:56 PM PDT
More details are coming to light about the child molestation allegations against a popular Concord teacher. Joseph Martin is in jail, facing life in prison on nearly 100 felony counts.

Though the campus is shuttered for the summer, the fallout continues after Martin, one of Woodside Elementary School's most popular teachers, was arrested on charges he molested nearly a dozen of his own students.

Attorney Marc Lewis represents an 11-year-old boy who was a fifth grader in Martin's class this past school year. The boy and his family have filed a claim against the Mount Diablo Unified School District seeking $25,000 in damages.

The allegations include that Martin "groomed" the boy for molestation, put his hands down the boy's shirt, and even fondled him and whispered "I love you" with other students present.

"The abuse we know of was all inside the classroom," Lewis said. "The district was also negligent in allowing the teacher to be at a private sleep-away camp with our client as well."

Besides Martin, the claim names former Mount Diablo Superintendent Steve Lawrence and past and current principals at Woodside Elementary for failing to act promptly and notify police about prior allegations against Martin.

Beyond that, the claim states that after Martin was notified he was being removed from his position in May, school administrators allowed the teacher to return to his class one last time to say goodbye. According to the claim, Martin took that opportunity to pressure the boy not to tell anyone what happened.

"And just the mere fact that he was allowed back into the room is just completely shocking," Lewis said.

The school district maintains it is working with police in their ongoing investigation and gave a written statement to ABC7 News saying, "The district has taken appropriate actions, including the immediate removal of the teacher from the campus."

Martin, 45, is in jail on $10 million bail. Last month, he pleaded not guilty to 91 felony charges involving 11 potential victims.

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