Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin announced Oct. 9 that an Educational Service Center of Central Ohio employee working as an instructional aide and coach in the Westerville City School District was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of trading child pornography.
Donte M. Martin, 29, of Columbus has been charged with pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, a second-degree felony.
Martin was arrested at 9 a.m. Oct. 9 by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at his place of employment at Walnut Springs Middle School, 888 E. Walnut St.
Acting on multiple tips, Baldwin said, the task force was able to confirm Martin’s identity and arrest him swiftly and simultaneously to execute a search warrant at Martin’s home.
One computer, one tablet and multiple cellphones were recovered from Martin’s residence, and they’re being processed, Baldwin said.
Baldwin said detectives don’t believe anything had occurred to children physically.
Franklin County Municipal Court records show the alleged incident occurred on Aug. 11.
“This is a shock to everyone,” said Paul Hopkins, the school district’s executive director of human resources and employee relations, in an email communication to district families.
“Because this is an ongoing investigation, we do not have many details. We pledge our continued cooperation during the investigation and support to our students, staff and families as we move forward,” Hopkins wrote.
Martin is suspected of acquiring and sharing online pornography involving minors, Hopkins said.
Greg Viebranz, the district’s executive director of communications and technology, said Martin, as an employee of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, was first assigned to the district in 2016.
He was an instructional aide at Blendon Middle School during the 2016-17 school year and an instructional aide at Walnut Springs Middle School for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
Viebranz said Martin coached wrestling and eighth-grade football at Walnut Springs during the 2017-18 school year, and he coached seventh-grade football at Walnut Springs this year.
He also had served as assistant girls track coach at Blendon Middle School since 2016.
Martin is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Franklin County Municipal Court.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Baldwin.