Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Joseph Martinez Arrested for Sexual Exploitation

A prominent local businessman was arrested Tuesday on child-sex charges after officers responding to a 911 call reported finding explicit photos and videos of him with different boys.

Joseph Martinez, vice president of a company that stripes parking lots, faces 75 charges related to sex crimes involving children.

Martinez recorded nearly 300 videos of himself assaulting one young boy over the course of a decade, according to Detective Kyle Hartsock of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.

The charges against Martinez include 20 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, 11 counts of child abuse and 44 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Hartsock said he could have faced even more charges but the statute of limitations had run out on the others. Investigators also are trying to identify two more boys seen in videos, he added.

The boy who was identified is now an adult and was located last week by detectives who had worked with the video and pictures for three months.

The young man was still working for Martinez at his company.

The investigation began in April when someone placed a 911 call from Martinez's home in Tijeras and then hung up on dispatchers.

"They tried to call it back; no one answered," Hartsock said. "They don't find anybody."

Because no one answered, deputies said they had to go into the house to make sure no one was sick or injured. That's when they said they found, sitting out in plain sight, drugs, 279 videos and 29 pictures mostly of Martinez performing sexual acts on a young boy.

"The victim in this case was brutalized by Mr. Martinez for 11 years of his life," Hartsock said. Martinez first molested the boy when he was 5 and continued until he turned 16, he said.

The case has been described as unique, Hartsock said, because investigators rarely catch people who produce child pornography tapes.

Hartsock said Martinez filmed the sex acts at the boy's house, at Martinez's former home in northeast Albuquerque and at his current home. The assaults stopped when the boy grew bigger than Martinez and rejected his proposals, the detective added.

"He was a close family friend," Hartsock said. "The victim's father worked for him."

When the boy became old enough he began working for Martinez at AccuStripe, and in some of the videos the suspect and alleged victim wore company clothing or had paint on them, he added.

Investigators said Martinez used his money and influence to groom the boy including giving him money, drugs and alcohol during the sexual acts.

"The feeling when the warrant was signed today, the feeling of placing handcuffs on him is the best feeling I've ever had as a cop so far in six years," he said. "This guy was a true predator in every definition of it."

As investigators looked through Martinez's tapes they said they also found two other boys under the age of 10 whom they would like to identify.

Detectives said they still don't know the source of the 911 call that broke the case open.

Martinez is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond. He has yet to enter a plea to the charges.

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