PEMBROKE PARK, Florida. – A criminal investigation is underway into a Local 10 News employee who was fired last week.
Rafael Martinez, 60, is accused of recording videos of other employees in private places without their consent.
WPLG fired the engineer, who had been at the station for more than 20 years.
Martinez’s company cell phone is now in the hands of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. On this phone are several videos below the anchor desk of our main studio, our control room, and a set of newsrooms that we call “the tower” – an elevated platform that we use for breaking news, news updates and bringing you stories.
Last week, after an employee complaint, station management immediately confiscated Martinez’s cellphone and found the videos to be inappropriate and illegal.
We have reported crimes like this before. It’s called “upskirting”. But this time it hits home, with three of our colleagues identified as victims.
In some of the videos, Martinez’s cellphone camera is pointed up their skirt. In others, his cell phone is placed in dark places intended to capture private footage.
Local 10’s internal camera system at the station showed Martinez planting his cell phone on the tower.
“This is an illegal action. That’s why we immediately involved BSO,” said Bert Medina, President and CEO of WPLG, Inc. “It’s our responsibility to report something like this. As painful should this happen in the WPLG family, it is our responsibility to involve law enforcement.
As with any suspect, we went to Martinez to ask why.
He was not at home.
“We’re coming out with this story because if we’re covering the news every day, we need to be transparent when it’s happening in our building,” Medina said. “And to viewers, we promise to be completely transparent as this story develops.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office will conduct a forensic investigation to see if there are more victims and if any of the videos have been released.
An arrest is likely, and we will of course keep you informed.
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