by Ivan Foley
Bizarre developments sometimes occur in municipal courts. Kansas City Municipal Court is certainly no exception.
It has happened again, as Lowell Gard, head prosecutor for the City of Kansas City, tells The Landmark that the patronizing prostitution charge against a former Platte County R-3 High School principal has been dropped.
Gard said he could not comment further on the case against Dr. Patrick N. Martin, who was Platte County High School principal when he was arrested in a prostitution sting conducted at the Sleep Inn hotel near I-29 and Tiffany Springs, Kansas City in Platte County.
The Landmark broke the story of Martin’s arrest in its Oct. 3 issue. The Landmark uncovered records of Martin’s arrest while investigating possible reasons behind his resignation as high school principal. The school had only announced Martin was resigning “due to unforeseen personal reasons.”
Kansas City officials are tight-lipped about the new development.
“The case was dismissed and it’s a closed record,” Gard said in repeated questioning from The Landmark.
Asked to comment not on Martin’s case in particular but on similar cases in general terms as to why a case of this nature might be dismissed, Gard replied:
“I dismiss cases every day. It can be anything from a lack of evidence, a lack of ID, a lot of different ways. Attorneys come in and make arguments that are evaluated by me or my assistants.”
Asked if he personally made the decision to drop the charge or whether the call was made by an assistant, Gard said it was a decision made by an assistant.
Gard said he did not know whether Martin had enlisted an attorney to make arguments for him.
The dropped charge seems peculiar for many reasons, including that the police report on the incident, which The Landmark acquired in October, mentions evidence as being video of the encounter.
Martin, age 37, resigned from his position at Platte County High School a few days after his arrest in the prostitution sting.
Martin resides in Kansas City. He was in his first year as principal at Platte County High School after working as an assistant principal at Lee’s Summit West High School for four years. Prior to that, he had worked in the Excelsior Springs, Columbia and Park Hill School Districts.
Martin’s annual salary at Platte County was “right at $100,000,” Dr. Mike Reik, superintendent, confirmed for The Landmark.
Martin has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri, a master’s from Northwest Missouri State, and a doctorate in educational administration from St. Louis University.
His arrest came at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Sept. 26. His arrest took place while classes were in session at what was a normal school day at Platte County High School.
Interestingly, Martin was the scheduled speaker at a meeting of the Platte City Lions Club on the night of his arrest. He showed up for his speaking engagement as scheduled, with members of the club later telling The Landmark that he “seemed normal.”
“Our vice unit sets up stings all the time,” Darin Snapp, public information officer for the Kansas City Police Department, told The Landmark in October.
Snapp explained this particular sting involved placing an ad under “escorts” on a web site called backpage.com.
Police say Martin called the number on the ad to set up a date. A female detective posing as a prostitute answered the call and told him the general area where she would be. She told him to call again when he was in that area. Once he made that call, she told him in which hotel she would be. She then asked him to call again when he had arrived at the hotel.
Police say Martin called her when he arrived at the hotel and the undercover detective told him which room she was in.
Snapp said the three phone call approach by police is by design. He explained the process gives the “customer” multiple chances to step away from the arrangement before following through with the illegal act.
According to the police report, Martin knocked on the hotel room door and came inside. Police say Martin then agreed to pay the female $150 in exchange for oral sex and sexual intercourse with a condom.
The police report indicates Martin was then placed into custody without further incident. He was released on a signature bond, meaning no cash was needed for his release.
“That is standard in these types of cases,” Snapp told The Landmark.
Snapp said the low-key arrest strategy in such incidents is followed to protect the nature of the sting operation while it is in progress.
“We don’t want to bring in a paddy wagon, for instance, to haul people away,” he explained, for that would draw attention to the scene and the sting operation that is underway.
Police told The Landmark that Martin was one of six people arrested last Wednesday in the sting at Sleep Inn.
Snapp said Martin was issued what is known as a general municipal ordinance summons. He signed the signature bond and was fingerprinted. No mug shot of the suspect is taken in a signature bond situation like this, Snapp said.
Following Martin’s resignation, Alan Bunch was named interim principal for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.