Keep Calm and Send Nudes: A Sedgwick County Jail Story


Women are propositioned by strange men asking for nude photos everyday. But what do you do if the man asking for your nudes has just booked you into jail and has your home address, phone number and workplace information?

Sedgwick County Sheriff Deputy Austin Martens pulled over a then 20 year-old woman and arrested her for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, booked her into the Sedgwick County Detention Facility, and then, inexplicably Facebook messaged the young woman asking her to send him nude photographs of herself, according to the woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous.

Several months and four court continuances later, the woman, who will be referred to as “Elizabeth” is still attempting to subpoena records of those messages from Facebook, while she fights the misdemeanor charge against her. Facebook has not complied with the subpoena, and while they are aware of the situation, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office has not offered to assist in obtaining these records.

In addition to the inappropriate messages Martens is accused of sending to Elizabeth, Martens also posts lewd content to his personal Tumblr account, including a picture of a woman performing oral sex on a man, a meme asking for nude photographs, and a joke that trivializes rape victims. The Sedgwick County Sheriff Department has declined to comment on the allegations and the Tumblr account.

The following screenshots are from Martens’ Tumblr account:

Sedgwick County Sheriff Deputy Austin Martens

 

Sedgwick County does not appear to have an online posting of its social media policy, assuming the County has such a policy, but the State of Kansas does, and it explicitly bans employees from posting anything sexually explicit. If the County does have a social media policy, it is reasonable to assume that said policy would reflect the State policy in this respect.

Martens, who uses the Tumblr handle “Mrimperfect07” is not listed on any of Elizabeth’s official paperwork, despite being the arresting officer who booked Elizabeth into jail. Instead, a Detective Lassiter is listed on all documents. This raises the question of whether or not Martens is on the Brady/Giglio list. Brady/Giglio refers to two separate Supreme Court cases, dictating that prosecutors are required to notify the defense of any officer with credibility issues, if that officer is expected to testify.

In Kansas, law enforcement agencies are not required to disclose this list to the public, and only shares this information when forced to by subpoena. Martens not being listed as Elizabeth’s arresting officer suggests that there is a reason why the prosecutor does not want Martens to testify in court.

While the department has declined to comment on the allegations, we were contacted by a Sheriff detective, who was assigned to investigate Martens’ behavior after we called for comment last week.

That detective stated that Lassiter, and not Martens, is listed on the paperwork because all cases involving marijuana are kicked up to a detective and Lassiter is the detective investigating Elizabeth’s marijuana case.

Having detectives investigate marijuana cases may conjure up images of bad movie titles such as “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Stupid Weed Pipe” or “Indiana Jones and the Head Shop of Doom”, but that’s a subject for a different story.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter has a strong track record of arresting and/or terminating deputies who violate the law or who violate serious policies, but as of now, Deputy Martens is still employed by the Sheriff Department, and Elizabeth is still facing a misdemeanor charge based on Martens’ word.

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