Accusers of Springfield man charged with child sex abuse crimes speak out
Edward Martinez is currently charged with assaulting a 4 year-old girl
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Investigators say more women have come forward to report claims of sexual abuse against a Springfield man.
Last month we learned that Edward Martinez first caught the eye of prosecutors in two different states 25 years ago.
Court records say he was grooming and sexually abusing several young girls for decades. However prosecutors say there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.
They also couldn’t use that information to establish a pattern of abuse until a recent change in Missouri law.
Now many of Martinez’s accusers are speaking out.
Investigators are too. They hoping to get more potential victims to come forward.
“I was around 12 when I finally had told my parents. I’m 23 now,” said a woman accusing Martinez of sexual abuse.
Her identity has been concealed for her protection.
She says she is speaking out all these years later to help in the investigation involving his current accuser, a 4 year-old girl.
“It definitely brought all of those old feelings and memories that I had pressed down deep in a dark corner back up. I thought I had dealt with it,” said the accuser.
Her mother, whose identity is also concealed, says she was devastated when her daughter came forward.
She said, “I wanted to hunt him down and kill him honestly. That’s just your maternal instinct kicking in. Then guilt because I’ve let this monster into my family.”
She says he was a close family friend.
“His demeanor is very friendly, outgoing, very charming. You would never expect this,” explained the mother of Martinez’s accuser.
Michelle Brandon, Martinez’ first wife, claims that she didn’t know about the accusations of sexual abuse.
We asked, “Do you believe he is an abuser?”
“I believe he is but I also believe he was abused. I know that he was struggling with things but as far as officially knowing and being able to stop it, no. But I know that he had some issues,” replied Brandon.
We asked, “Had you known would you have gone to the authorities?
“Yes of course I would have because wrong is wrong no matter who the person is,” she said.
Detective James Stephenson with the Republic Police Department said, “We’re at 13 now as far as people that are involved in the case.”
He says he believes there are more potential victims out there.
“The Child Advocacy Center they did their own research and they found another victim that I was able to contact. Then you all actually getting involved has helped because the prosecutor’s office, they were contacted by three more ladies that had been abused in the past,” he said.
Stephenson says these women play a key role in his investigation.
“They’re facing fear. They’re facing reliving all of the past horrors that they’ve gone through. Every single one of them that I’ve talked to they’ve come forward and said I want to help,” he explained.
Martinez’s accusers and their families say they won’t stop until he stays behind bars.
“There’s more of us out there and he can’t keep running. There’s power in numbers,” said his accuser.
His accuser’s mother said, “You’re not going to get away with this. We’re not going to let you hurt anybody else.”
Martinez has pleaded not guilty to the multiple first-degree charges of statutory sodomy and sexual misconduct involving a child.
He is currently being held without bond in the Greene County Jail.
A bond hearing is scheduled for Friday.
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