MARTINEZ -- Two boys heading into high school testified Tuesday that their former Woodside Elementary School teacher Joseph Martin would put his hands down the front of their T-shirts and rub their nipples, chest and stomach areas, often as classmates looked on during Circle Time.
Both boys said they did not know it was wrong in the fourth and fifth grades, but grew to become "uncomfortable" with the contact and thought it was "weird."
The boys were the first two alleged victims to testify during Martin's trial. The Concord teacher, who was arrested in June 2013, is charged with 150 molestation counts involving 14 former students.
Martin has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has argued that Martin merely touched the boy's sternum area as part of his positive reinforcement teaching methods.
John Doe 1, who also testified Monday, said Martin asked him if he had pubic hair around his testicles, and that after basketball games, the teacher would often change clothes in his classroom with the boys in the room. On cross examination, the boy said Martin would tell boys to stand in the corner when he changed out of his sweaty clothes.
Defense attorney Patrick Clancy -- who has said Martin was the victim of mass hysteria perpetuated by gossiping parents and students, social media, press reports and civil lawsuits -- repeatedly asked John Doe 1 if investigators, family or friends encouraged him to exaggerate the touching.
He also asked John Doe 1 if he was suing the school district and others for the money. "I don't know," the boy said.
Clancy ended his questioning by showing numerous positive teacher evaluations by John Doe 1.
John Doe 12, 14, said he would get touched under his shirt around his nipples when the teacher would ask him to stay after school, sometimes sitting on his teacher's lap while they watched movies on his computer. After he graduated from Woodside, Martin would call him repeatedly at home and offer to give him free chess lessons at his classroom, he testified. Martin once visited the boy at home sick, going into his bedroom to give him a birthday card, $20 and a hug, John Doe 12 said.
"As I got older and went to eighth grade I started realizing it was weird," he said.
"That shouldn't have happened letting anyone touch me there, but I was only in fourth grade so I didn't know better," he said.
The boy also testified that Martin would only hug the boys in class. Under cross examination, Clancy showed numerous positive evaluations the boy gave his teacher, writing in one: "I love how you give me a massage while we watch movies in the classroom."
Prosecutor Derek Butts told the jury in opening statements that Martin fantasizes sexually about young boys and that investigators have found child pornography featuring young boys on his computer website history.
The father and mother of John Doe 12 also testified, sparring with Martin's attorney when he asked them if they were looking for money from their civil lawsuits.
"I want to ensure his safety," the father said, adding that he was not doing it for the money. More than a dozen former students have sued the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Martin and other employees for their handling of the teacher's abuse allegations.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.