Victim testifies Brooklyn prison guard raped her, threatened her with solitary
Gripping a tissue and sniffling with a water bottle close by, a woman told a Brooklyn federal court jury and a full audience on Tuesday how she was repeatedly raped by a prison guard at a Sunset Park jail.
“He stood me up, put me on the desk, continued to pull my pants down … and he penetrated me,” Maria said of Lt. Carlos Martinez.
Martinez, 47, is on trial for allegedly raping the woman five times between Dec. 2015 and April 2016 inside the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
The 31-year-old Dominican native is referred to only as “Maria,” to keep her privacy.
Maria recalled she was escorted by an officer to Martinez’s office on cleaning duty in Dec. 2015, already uncomfortable with the lieutenant after he previously told her to think about him while masturbating.
“What happened after the officer left,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata asked the woman in court.
“Lt. Martinez raped me,” Maria said, choked up through a Spanish interpreter.
When asked to elaborate, she explained that while bending down to collect cleaning supplies, Martinez turned around in front of her with his erect penis showing through his pants zipper.
Martinez then allegedly grabbed her head and shoulders.
“He was grabbing me so he could put his penis in my mouth,” she said in tears.
Some jurors watched with their hands on their faces while she said Martinez pushed her chest on his desk and penetrated her from behind. All the while, he allegedly watched prison surveillance to see if anyone was coming.
When he was finished, Maria said, he ejaculated inside her, leaving her to beg him crying for an emergency contraception pill which, prosecutors said, records will prove he bought.
She then said Martinez threatened to throw her in solitary confinement if she told anyone what had happened.
“It’s the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Maria said. “It killed me inside.”
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 claim that he raped Maria four more times in his office until her release in April 2016, when she was turned over to immigration custody.
Citing her drug conspiracy conviction, defense attorney Anthony Ricco targeted the alleged victim’s credibility during Tuesday’s opening statements.
Maria pleaded guilty to the charges and served three years in prison after she was caught moving drugs around the city for a man in the Dominican Republic.
Ricco told jurors that the alleged 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 she eventually filed a $20 million lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons.
“It’s going to be up to you to tell who is the true person,” Ricco told the panel of 10 men and four women.
Upon unsealing Martinez’s case, two more MDC officers, one another lieutenant, were also slammed with sexual abuse charges.
All three are currently in custody with Lt. Eugenio Perez awaiting a February trial. Armando Moronta previously pleaded guilty to all charges and awaits sentencing.
Martinez and Perez face up to life in prison if convicted.
MDC, which houses 42 female inmates of its nearly 1,800 total population, is known for its harsh conditions, to which Ricco promised jurors they would hear about in detail during the trial.
Testimony was scheduled to continue on Wednesday in Judge Edward Korman’s courtroom.
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