A Broward Sheriff’s Office child protective investigator claimed she met with the children she was supposed be safeguarding but did not – and in several cases asked parents to send her photos of them instead, authorities said.
Sandra Marti, 58, of Coral Springs faces five counts of falsifying records, a BSO complaint affidavit said. Marti, who works for the BSO’s Child Protective Service Investigations unit, has been employed by the agency for nine years.
“The level of carelessness and neglect displayed by her is obviously not something that would be becoming of any of our employees,” BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said.
Marti was arrested Tuesday and has been released from jail on bond. She did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday, and it wasn’t immediately known whether Marti has an attorney.
She has been suspended with pay, the BSO said.
In four cases between December 2011 and June 2013, Marti filed reports in which she falsely claimed to have met with a child, and in a fifth case she said that she met with a father of a child, but he only recalled speaking over the phone with her, the affidavit said.
Concepcion said that Marti would have clients – kids – text her pictures of themselves as proof that they were okay.
In one case, she reported that she met face to face with a 16-year-old boy on April 16 – but his mother later told an investigator that she met with Marti, but her son did not because he was in class at Hollywood Hills High School, according to the affidavit. The mother said that Marti told her to email her a photo of her son.
“We asked the child whether he had a face to face meeting with Marti and he responded that he never met with her,” an investigator wrote. “The child confirmed taking his photo on his cell phone and emailing his picture to the defendant.”
Concepcion said an investigation, especially involving a child, must involve more than just a picture.
“You actually need to be able to view the child, speak to them face to face and then be able to either make more of a determination that's required at that point,” she said.