A Massachusetts court officer has been held on a $50,000 bail after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female prisoner on multiple occasions while escorting her through Lawrence District Court.
Jose Martinez was arraigned at Essex Superior Court in Salem on four counts of rape, six counts of indecent assault and battery, and single counts of assault with intent to rape as well as misleading investigators, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say Martinez raped the victim in a holding cell, a prisoner elevator, and a stairwell at the courthouse on three separate occasions in 2009 and 2014 while the she was in custody on drug and fugitive from justice charges.
In addition to the sexual assaults, Martinez tried to mislead detectives from the Massachusetts State Police by attempting to have a coworker destroy a cell phone he had hidden inside the courthouse, prosecutors said.
According to The Boston Herald, prosecutor Ian Polumbaum said DNA evidence recovered from an October 7, 2014 incident proves the victim’s allegations.
T]he victim wiped herself off with a shirt, which was tested for DNA by the state police.
“There were sperm cells detected on one of the sleeves,” Polumbaum said. “The sperm cells were subject to DNA testing with a known sample provided by Mr. Martinez and there was a match.”
Martinez is being represented by Hank Brennan, one of the attorneys who represented the infamous Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger at his 2013 trial. Brennan suggested that any sexual contact between his client and the alleged victim was consensual.
“We never hid from the fact that there would be DNA in this case,” Brennan said. “It is cooperative with some type of contact … Now, I don’t defend impropriety but impropriety is not a crime.”
Brennan said he asked the commonwealth to turn over any video of the alleged sexual contact but the purported videos were destroyed, he said. Brennan also argued the alleged victim can’t be believed over his client, a “pillar of the community.”
“The complaining witness in this case not only carries with her eight aliases, she has over a dozen dockets in Lawrence District Court and other courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for drug abuse, theft, false check, prostitution.”
The alleged sexual assaults happened in Essex County, but District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said he referred the case to Suffolk county prosecutors because Martinez has been employed at the Lawrence District Court for 15 years.
Martinez’s bail had previously been set at $40,000, which he had posted, so he will only need to post an additional $10,000. If released, he will still need to wear a GPS monitor and remain under home confinement.