New details in child-porn case involving ex-Tucson cop

Files: Witness says she found him talking child-sex in chatroom
2013-05-14T00:00:00Z 2013-05-14T10:52:56Z New details in child-porn case involving ex-Tucson copVeronica M. Cruz and Carmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The ex-girlfriend of a former Tucson police officer suspected of distributing child pornography previously reported him to the Sheriff's Department after catching him in an online chatroom where people were talking about having sexual relations with a child, according to search warrant documents.

When former Officer Martin Ward, 29, was asked about the incident he told authorities he was trying to "set up" the woman and said he had no interest in children, the warrant said.

The warrant documents filed in court do not say when the ex-girlfriend reported Ward to the Pima County Sheriff's Department or give any other details of that incident.

In March, detectives investigating the sharing and distribution of child pornography online in the Tucson area traced a file to a Tucson computer Internet address belonging to Ward.

Police searched Ward's home in the 9200 block of East Palm Tree Drive last Thursday and seized hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, cellphones, computer towers, a laptop and other electronics and said they found several child- pornography videos.

An arrest warrant was issued for Ward, who is facing one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was arrested by U.S. marshals Friday night in Prescott.

Ward worked as an officer for the Tucson Police Department starting in 2007 but resigned in early 2013 after an internal investigation in December concluded that the department intended to fire him.

Among the investigation's findings were that Ward was tardy for briefings; he knowingly consumed prescription medication with alcohol, which "clearly had adverse effects on his memory, judgment and decision-making"; he disobeyed direct orders; he lied about being married and forged documents in order to receive Family and Medical Leave benefits; he engaged in criminal conduct; and he engaged in conduct that was unbecoming and detrimental to his duties.

The investigation also showed that under an order of protection served to Ward he was prohibited from carrying a firearm. Off-duty officers are expected to carry their firearms, "except when engaged in sports or activities that would make it impractical or socially unacceptable, or when outside the City of Tucson."

Court records show Ward was arrested and taken to jail in September 2012 on an assault charge. Details of this incident were not available.

Ward's ex-girlfriend sought an order of protection against him in July 2012 saying that he was abusing prescription drugs and alcohol, and made threats toward her, according to court documents.

In July 2012, Ward told the woman "I'm a lost cause," and "I'm going to drive off a cliff," she wrote in the order of protection petition.

The day Ward was served with the protection order, his ex-girlfriend called the Sheriff's Department because when she arrived home all the lights were on, the back gate was open, and the front door was unlocked and she was afraid to go into the home, according to a case report.

A deputy went into the house and did not find anybody inside.

The woman called deputies again after she found that all of her clothes were missing, and she suspected Ward of taking them, the report said.

During a TPD internal investigation of Ward, it was learned that Ward, who originally lied about the clothes to investigators, admitted that he took the woman's clothes and put them in a Goodwill collection bin.

To contact reporters: Veronica Cruz, vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224; Carmen Duarte, cduarte@azstarnet.com or 573-4104.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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