Father William Martinez
Diocese of Colorado Springs
Assigned as follows:
- Holy Apostles Parish (Colorado Springs, CO)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. William Martinez:
Fr. William Martinez served in the Archdiocese of Denver. According to media reports, in October 2019, the Colorado Attorney General released a detailed report of a special investigation into the handling of child sexual abuse allegations by Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses. For the first time, Fr. William Martinez was publicly identified as a priest with multiple documented reports of sexual abuse.
According to the documents reviewed by the investigators, the Diocese of Colorado Springs became aware of rumors that Martinez engaged in ‘homosexual activity and inappropriate behavior with boys,’ but deemed them to be “unsubstantiated” because none of the alleged victims would come forward to make a report to the Diocese. However, a parish employee at Annunciation parish in Leadville reported to the Diocese of Colorado Springs that he suspected Martinez was involved in a sexual relationship with an underaged boy. When the employee did not provide the boy’s name, the Diocese determined that his report was nothing more than a rumor and took no action except to transfer Martinez to St. Patrick in Colorado Springs. His supervising pastor was never told of the rumors or anything else relating to Martinez’s history.
The ‘rumors’ never died down. In 1992, the Bishop of Colorado Springs called Martinez to the chancery and asked him if he ever engaged in sexual contact with an underage boy. Martinez denied it to the Bishop and to the personnel board, but did admit that he shared a bed with boys occasionally. He said it was a “culturally appropriate way” to soothe a scared child. The Bishop took no action except to tell Martinez not to do that again.
The Diocese of Colorado Springs received a report of sexual abuse from Victim #1 in 1993. According to the victim, he knew Martinez from the parish youth group at Holy Apostles parish in Colorado Springs. The man said that Martinez invited him to come to the rectory to mediate, and used the setting to massage and then fondle him. On subsequent occasions, Martinez plied him with alcohol and the abuse escalated to other types of sexual contact. The victim says the incidents occurred over the course of a few months in 1980 and 1981 when he was 17 years old. Martinez admitted to the allegation and was placed on leave to undergo an inpatient psychological evaluation.
The victim sued the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and the matter was settled in late 1995.
A second man reported his sexual abuse directly to the Diocese of Colorado Springs sometime between 1986 and 1988. According to the documents reviewed by the AG Investigators, the victim was served alcohol and forced to watch pornographic movies. At the time, Martinez was assigned to Annunciation in Leadville.
Martinez was voluntarily laicized (removed from the priesthood) by the Vatican in 2006. His current whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be living outside of Colorado.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Colorado, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Colorado Springs now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Colorado and nationwide. We can help.
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