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Victoria Martens’ Grandparents Sue The City

Victoria Martens’ Grandparents Sue The City

The lawsuit ripped APD for having no written policies on how to deal with child abuse referrals from the state's Children, Youth and Families Department.

The grandparents of Victoria Martens, the 10-year-old girl who was raped, murdered, and dismembered last year, have sued the city of Albuquerque, saying that the Albuquerque Police Department’s failure to investigate child abuse reports prior to Victoria’s death contributed to her murder.

The lawsuit by the grandparents, John and Pat Martens, also ripped APD for having no written policies on how to deal with child abuse referrals from the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department. And the lawsuit said that APD personnel were not properly trained in how to deal with those referrals.

“At all times relevant to this Complaint, the City had in effect policies, practices and customs that condoned and fostered the unlawful conduct of the APD Individual Defendants, and were a direct and proximate cause of Victoria Martens’ death,” the lawsuit said.

“As a direct result of the acts of Defendants, Victoria Martens suffered physical and emotional damages, including, but not limited to, physical injury, pain and suffering, severe psychological an emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of her life.”

The wrongful death lawsuit also said that APD’s then-spokesperson, officer Fred Duran, misled the public and the news media by saying that APD needed a warrant and probable cause to investigate the CYFD referral, which it received five months prior to Victoria’s murder.

“Probable cause and a warrant are not required for the investigation of allegations of child abuse contained in a CYFD referral,” the lawsuit said.

“The Albuquerque Police Department has no policies for the oversight of the APD individual defendants’ decision to not investigate the complaint of sexual violence regarding Michelle Martens’ boyfriend referred from CYFD.

“The Albuquerque Police Department has no written policy regarding the handling of referrals of potential child abuse complaints from CYFD.”

The lawsuit seeks changes in APD’s policies for handling CYFD referrals, as well as damages for the grandparents. Those changes include:

That APD respond within 24 hours to any CYFD referral involving a child.

That APD conduct annual training on crimes against children, “to include determination of what constitutes criminal activity and the detection of signs of pedophilia, inappropriate conduct towards children, and the signs of abuse in children.”

“That the Albuquerque Police Department develop a tracking system of CYFD referrals so that no referral involving a child falls through the cracks.”

The lawsuit also alleged that APD was negligent in its failure to protect Victoria.

John and Pat Martens’ Lawsuit by ABQFreePress on Scribd

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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