Navy Lt. Cmdr arrested for child sexual abuse in Washington

Lt. Cmdr. Lucas Martinez, 61, was arrested after paying a 14-year-old for sex, authorities say.
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Lt. Cmdr. Lucas Martinezmendieta was arrested last week on charges of child rape and commercial sex abuse of a minor. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Panaro.

A lieutenant commander from the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Northwest was arrested in Washington last week on allegations of raping a 14-year-old after paying them for sex.

Lt. Cmdr. Lucas Martinez, 61, who also goes by Lucas Martinezmendieta, according to the Anacortes Police Department, was arrested on charges of third-degree rape of a child, commercial sexual abuse of a minor and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

According to an affidavit obtained by Task & Purpose, Martinez allegedly went to the home of a 14-year-old boy he met online. Wearing his green camouflage Navy Working Uniform,  Martinez paid $200 to have sex, according to the affidavit. Martinez also allegedly used an official Navy phone line to contact the boy after their meetup.

According to police report, when Martinez was arrested as his Oak Harbor, Washington residence on Friday, he initially remained silent and then allegedly told police as they collected his belongings: “I never slept with a minor, let alone rape.” 

Third degree rape of a child under Washington law is sexual intercourse with a minor who is between 14 and 16 while the perpetrator is at least 48 months older than the victim.

According to the Department of Justice, commercial sexual abuse of a minor refers to a range of crimes involving “sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the financial benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value.” It can include sex trafficking and prostitution of children, child sex tourism involving commercial sexual activity, production of child pornography and posting live videos online of a child engaged in sexual activity in exchange for anything of value.

A dating app and a call from a Navy phone

On Jan. 22, the mother of the 14-year-old victim contacted Anacortes police after she received “suspicious” packages at her home containing sex toys and sexy costumes. The boy told his mother that he had been posing as an 18-year-old to communicate with older men on adult websites and that the men agreed to send him gifts off his Amazon Wishlist. The boy’s profile indicated that he was looking for money and included a nude picture of the lower half of his body without his face, officials said.

“No crime was established at that time,” according to the affidavit. 

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On Feb. 9, she contacted police again to report that Martinezmendieta had come to their home in Anacortes and paid her son to have sex. She told police that the two had met on Sniffies, a hook-up app used by gay men. 

The two began texting and progressed to meet ups in November and December 2023. They boy would skip school to stay home to meet Martinezmedieta while his mother was at work. 

According to police, the boy asked Martinez if he was a pilot and he responded, “No but i work in aviation.” 

“It is unknown if Lucas is the only male who had physical contact with [the boy], however, he is the only one that [the boy] has thus far reported,” according to the affidavit. 

Martinez’s profile on the dating website allegedly showed a picture of him in a white Navy uniform with a visible name tag. Martinez also shared close-up photos of his face while in uniform, the affidavit said.

After the boy blocked Martinez’s number, investigators said they found numerous failed attempts by Martinez in January and February to contact the boy. Officials said that Martinez called from a different phone number and left voicemails telling the boy to unblock him. When officials traced the number, they found it belonged to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. 

Not immediately charged under UCMJ

Martinez is still assigned to FRCNW while the investigation is ongoing, Naval Air Systems Command spokesperson Marcia Hart told Task & Purpose.

“We will not comment on the on-going investigation. Local law enforcement has jurisdiction, and we will support them and their investigation in any way possible,” Hart said.

There are no pending actions in the military’s justice system, she added.   

According to Skagit County Jail’s public database, Martinez was bonded out of custody as of Monday.

The affidavit said that Martinez had orders to report to Maryland and had planned on moving there. The investigator in charge of the case said Martinez “poses a flight risk if released, as he already owns a residence in Maryland.” Martinez joined active duty in July 1997. His awards include five Navy Commendation Medals and five Navy Achievement Medals. In a photo posted on a military photo archive, he is seen at a gathering for the Navy Birthday in 2022 with the then-captain of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. He is identified in the photo as the oldest sailor in attendance.

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