Two employees of Wright State University dropped allegations of sexual harassment they had informally made against police Chief Michael Martinsen, on the same day he defended himself in a public statement.
Martinsen, WSU’s police chief since 2008, remains on paid administrative leave while the university continues to investigate the other informal complaints made against him: a hostile work environment, retaliation and misuse of a university-issued credit card.
Martinsen released a statement Friday that in part said he took a polygraph test to prove he is innocent of all allegations.
Wright State also issued a statement saying that, “while the university has not made a finding of any misconduct on Mr. Martinsen’s part, the university has reassigned the complainants to other departments on campus.” Last week, the university told Martinsen in a letter that it is obligated to investigate the claims, but the “need to investigate is not a reflection upon your integrity, competence or ethics.”
In his statement, Martinsen said the last week “has been an absolutely nightmare.” He said he was first advised by Wright State that he should not issue a response publicly to the accusations, but learned later it was permitted.
He asked that his 763-word statement be shared in full, and it is posted online at MyDaytonDailyNews.com.
In the statement, Martinsen said on Sunday he took a polygraph test by a certified examiner to prove he did not sexually harass anyone or make unauthorized purchases on the university-issued credit card. In Ohio, polygraph test results are not used as evidence in court cases unless both sides agree, said legal expert Tom Hagel, a professor of law at the University of Dayton. Speaking in general, Hagel said polygraph tests have been found to be scientifically unreliable.
Martinsen also said the purchases in question with the university-issued credit card were approved by university administrators, but the university has neither interviewed him nor asked him for evidence in the investigation.
Martinsen said he was responding because the investigation and its media coverage has “permanently damaged” his reputation and his family “has suffered an enormous toll.”
The statement, which the Dayton Daily News verified was sent by Martinsen from his personal e-mail address, in its entirety is below.
Dear Wright State Campus Community,
The past week has been an absolute nightmare. Last week, I was informed that informal allegations were made against me and an investigation would be conducted.
I was told an employee accused me of misuse of my university purchasing card. My supervisor verbally shared the purchases and I immediately offered evidence and explanation to demonstrate the purchases in question were approved by senior administrators and not inappropriate or unlawful. The allegations involving financial issues raised are untrue, fabrications, and completely unfounded. As for the motives of the accuser, I will leave that to the investigator. I have significant and objective evidence to provide the investigator when given the opportunity.
I was advised there was an allegation of sexual harassment, in the form of a comment that was allegedly made during a conversation. I was not provided with a written complaint, the date, the time, the location, or the exact wording of alleged statement. I immediately demanded to be polygraphed and told my supervisor I have never sexually harassed anyone and the accuser was lying.
I have four sisters and have learned over a lifetime, what is acceptable and what is inappropriate. The women I have worked with throughout my career make fun of me for being paranoid around women at work. I always insisted one is safer to work paranoid, so to speak.
I worked for several days after learning of the allegations and was then placed on paid administrative leave last Friday at 1:30 pm. Knowing that my reputation and professional credibility were in jeopardy, I was pro-active and spend my Sunday afternoon being POLYGRAPHED by a State of Ohio certified polygraph examiner, while everyone else watched NFL football. Being polygraphed is an unpleasant experience, I might add.
The examiner is approved by the State Governor’s office to conduct government polygraphs across Ohio and throughout the Ohio Prison System.
Not knowing the extent of the informal allegations; I insisted the examiner cover: my entire 5 years of service, ALL forms of sexual harassment, ALL female staff and students, and ALL forms of financial misconduct while working at WSU at WSU during the questioning. The following questions were asked:
1. HAVE YOU ENGAGED IN SEXUALLY HARASSING COMMUNICATIONS OR INAPPROPRIATE CONTACT WITH ANY FEMALE EMPLOYEE OR STUDENT AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY?
2. HAVE YOU MADE ANY UNATHORIZED OR UNLAWFUL PURCHASES WITH YOUR UNIVERSITY PURCHASING CARD OR INAPPROPRIATE PURCHASES WITH WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY FUNDS? Answer- (No)
The certified polygraph examiner (Ohio Polygraph & Associates) reported the polygraph revealed “No Questionable Responses” by the examinee, as follows:
1. THE EXAMINEE HAS NOT SEXUALLY HARASSED FEMALE EMPLOYEES OR STUDENTS AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY WITH HARASSING COMMINCATIONS OR INAPPROPRIATE CONTACT.
2. THE EXAMINEE HAS NOT MADE UNAUTHORIZED PURCHASES OR UNLAWFUL PURCHASES WITH HIS PURCHASING CARD OR WITH WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY FUNDS.
*THE EXAMINER CONCLUDED THAT THE EXAMINEE WAS “TRUTHFUL” –NO DECEPTION
Important to note, I am not aware of who is claiming retaliation or a hostile work environment. I have not been interviewed or even contacted by the investigator or provided with a complaint to respond to verbally or in writing. I was simply placed on leave, asked to turn in my gun and badge, and sent home without a written complaint of the accuser’s allegations.
The media coverage has been devastating to my immediate and extended family. My wife and four children are no longer comfortable in our neighborhood or in their schools. My mother and sisters have been an emotional wreck. As for me, I can’t begin to articulate what I feel inside. I have enjoyed serving President Hopkins for the past five years and looked forward to serving WSU for the next 18, but how will I ever feel comfortable on campus again. The citizens who watched the first rounds of news coverage may not be watching television when I am cleared of the informal-unwritten allegations.
I would have responded several days ago, but had to assure a response to the destructive media coverage was not prohibited by our senior administration. I first had to have Assistant Chief David Finnie ask our WSU Attorney. My professional reputation, public image, and internet image, are now permanently damaged. My family has suffered an enormous toll. When the investigation is complete, I hope the media coverage will be just as enthusiastic in clearing my name.
I insisted on filing a crime report as the victim of an M1 Misdemeanor: Filing a False Allegation of Misconduct against a Public Official, but was ordered not to by senior administration.