Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Pinellas deputy is subject of two internal affairs investigations

A veteran deputy with a history of suspensions at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is under investigation in two separate internal affairs cases, including one filed last month and another that has been ongoing since late last year and involves criminal allegations, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

The internal affairs investigation of Deputy Paul A. Martin that began last year was filed after Clearwater resident James McLynas, 54, accused him of wrongdoing.

"Over an extended period of time, James McLynas made numerous complaints," Gualtieri said. "Since this was voluminous and over an extended period of time, we had to digest and then dissect all of these allegations."

Among McLynas' complaints is that Martin interfered with police investigations or court cases at the request of McLynas' estranged wife, Laura.

Martin and Laura McLynas also exchanged several text messages, James McLynas said, including one from Martin last May that reads: "Delete this text. I made some calls. Nothing will go anywhere. He can make all the complaints he wants. File all the motions he wants. From this point forward he will be ignored and nothing will go anywhere."

Because some of the claims were about activity that was "criminal in nature," detectives were assigned to investigate, the sheriff said.

"It's extensive," Gualtieri said of the McLynas case, "and so far from what I know of it, we want to make sure we're dotting I's and crossing T's."

It was unclear how many of the allegations were criminal.

McLynas' wife was named in a similar internal affairs case at the Clearwater Police Department. Sgt. Richard Crean retired from the department as he was about to be fired for using a law enforcement database to look up the license tag number of a car parked in front of James McLynas' home. Crean later sent personal information about the car's owner to Laura McLynas, police said.

Another internal affairs investigation was opened against Martin last month. Gualtieri declined to disclose details of that case but said it was "a fairly recent allegation that is just recently begun with the investigation."

Martin, 48, was hired by the Sheriff's Office in August 1988. He declined to comment on the ongoing investigations.

Internal affairs documents show Martin has a tainted record at the Sheriff's Office.

In February 2011, he got into a heated argument with his ex-wife, Angela Martin, and tried to arrest her. At one point, Martin handcuffed her right wrist, internal affairs records show.

Martin told responding deputies that he tried to arrest her because she had trespassed into his home. However, she had not been issued a trespass warning in the past and Martin had granted her access to the home in case of an emergency.

During the struggle, Angela Martin sustained bruises to her head, arm and torso, records show. She filed a domestic violence injunction. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office filed a domestic battery charge against Martin, records show, but the case was dismissed after he entered a domestic violence program. Martin received an 11-day suspension.

In July 2011, he also was investigated for dating a woman addicted to prescription drugs, records show. He was suspended for 12 days.

Martin also was investigated several times before 2011, including in August 2007 when he received a written reprimand for confronting a man he believed had a relationship with his wife, records state.

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

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