Criminal Justice News

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Former Prison Employee Indicted on 13 Counts of Sexual Abuse of Inmates

PHOENIX—Joe A. Martinez, 48, of Phoenix, Arizona, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 19, 2012, on five counts of aggravated sexual abuse and eight counts of sexual abuse of a ward.

“Incarceration is designed to provide just punishment, afford deterrence to criminal conduct, and protect the public from further crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “The debt one pays to society for having engaged in criminal activity does not include being subjected to sexual assault by prison staff. I commend the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the FBI for the investigation that led to this indictment.”

Martinez is a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Correctional Institution-Phoenix, which is located north of Phoenix on the I-17 highway. The indictment alleges that Martinez sexually abused two inmates over whom he had authoritative and disciplinary control in 2008 and 2010.

A conviction for aggravated sexual abuse carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for sexual abuse of a ward carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. Judge Wake, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Alison S. Bachus, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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