Trial begins for federal corrections officer accused of raping female inmate
Prosecutors in Brooklyn’s federal court detailed the accused rape of an inmate at a Sunset Park jail by a corrections officer at the lieutenant’s Tuesday trial.
Carlos Martinez, 47, used his power at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) to rape a female inmate “over and over and over again,” prosecutors said. And if she told anyone, they alleged, she would be sent to solitary confinement.
While crouching to grab supplies to clean a jail lieutenant’s office in December 2015, the woman, who will be referred to as “Maria” in court, allegedly looked up to see Martinez’s erect penis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata told jurors.
“The defendant then grabbed the woman’s head and forced his penis in her mouth,” Shihata said, before detailing Martinez bending Maria over a desk. “He put his penis in her vagina from behind and raped her.” Martinez allegedly watched surveillance feed coming from outside the office to see if anyone was coming.
Shihata then accused Martinez of ejaculating inside Maria before she pleaded for him to buy an emergency contraception pill that, the prosecutor said, records will prove Martinez bought.
The jury panel of 10 men and four women grimaced while they heard allegations Martinez raped the woman four more times between December 2015 and April 2016 in the same office.
In the heat of the #MeToo sexual harassment movement, Martinez is charged with deprivation of civil rights, aggravated sexual abuse and sexual abuse of a ward.
Prosecutors alleged the rapes began from simple cleaning, elevating to Martinez telling Maria to touch herself while thinking about him in the shower.
Fellow inmates and jail officers are expected to testify in the trial to help prove the government’s case.
Defense attorney Anthony Ricco spent his opening statement attacking the credibility of the alleged victim, who is a convicted drug trafficker. A native from the Dominican Republic, Maria was serving a three-year sentence for dealing drugs in New York for a man back in the Dominican Republic.
Ricco said the alleged repeated rapes were “not discussed or brought to anyone’s attention until after Maria was in immigration custody and was about to be deported.”
He also mentioned the woman filing a $20 million lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons after being put in immigration custody.
Maria was expected to testify Tuesday afternoon.
Two other officers at MDC, one another lieutenant, were slammed with similar charges on other women inmates. Lt. Eugenio Perez is expected to go to trial on Feb. 20 and is currently in custody, while Armando Moronta pleaded guilty to all charges and awaits sentencing.
Perez and Martinez both face life in prison if convicted.
MDC, which is filled with 42 female inmates of its total nearly 1,800 population, is known for its harsh conditions, to which Ricco promised jurors they would hear about in detail during the trial.
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