A story iabout prosecutors adding more charges in the molestation case of former Woodside Elementary School teacher Joseph Martin incorrectly reported when he was arrested. Martin was arrested in June.
CONCORD -- Investigators have identified another victim in the molestation case of former Woodside Elementary School teacher Joseph Martin, who now faces 150 counts of molestation involving 14 former students, a prosecutor said Thursday.
The 25 new charges were filed last month. Martin, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, waived his preliminary hearing last week and will face a trial in May.
On Thursday, his attorney spoke to this newspaper for the first time about Martin's potential defense. Patrick Clancy called the large number of accusers the result of "group hysteria" sparked by social media.
"It is very minor type of patting, touching," according to Clancy, who said Martin would touch the children in the collar bone area with "no sexual intent."
Clancy said accusers and their families, however, made false claims after rumors spread through social media outlets like Facebook and chat rooms, as well as newspaper story comments.
Martin was arrested last June and has pleaded not guilty. Four lawsuits have been filed in the case, with 14 children -- all but one boys -- described as victims. The latest lawsuit was filed Feb. 14 and includes four "John Does."
The lawsuits accuse principals, superintendents, school board members and the district's former general counsel of failing to report earlier warnings of alleged abuse by Martin to authorities, as required by law. In 2006, according to a Concord police report, other teachers at Woodside complained of suspicious behavior by Martin, prompting an internal investigation by the district. The law firm conducting the investigation for the district found "allegations (against Martin) did at least suggest the subject matter of potential child abuse."
No one reported the suspicions to law enforcement or Child Protective Services at the time, according to police. This newspaper has sued to get a copy of the 2006 report.
The lawsuits claim the alleged abuse could have been prevented had district officials reported the original suspicions sooner.
Clancy said some of the accusers' families wrote his client positive letters while the alleged abuse occurred.
"He was extremely good at ... handling the kids that had problems. Kids with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), acting out, having disorders," Clancy said.
Martin's classes were popular with students, whose attendance, grades and test scores often went up, the attorney said.
"The techniques that he used worked," Clancy said. "I mean, they work stellarly."
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.