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Admitted sex offender harassed during court hearing

5-4-2007 New Mexico:

FARMINGTON — An 18-year-old Aztec man who admitted to having sex with a 4-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy in December 2004 was harassed by a family member of one of the victims during a Wednesday hearing, according to his attorney, Emet Rudolfo.

Rudolfo said his client, Mitchell Martin, began crying after he was verbally attacked.

"There was an outburst, and someone said, I'm going to kill you,'" the attorney said. "Mitchell Martin started crying. When you see him, he's really timid. These other guys who were at the hearing looked tough and were threatening him. He started crying and didn't look back."

Rudolfo said he can understand the family's concern, adding he has two children of his own.

"It would break my heart and anger me if they were ever molested," he said. "But Mitchell has gone through hell himself as a kid. It doesn't justify what he did, but if that cycle's ever going to break, there needs to be some understanding to let him receive treatment."

Martin previously pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree felony criminal sexual penetration following allegations he raped two young children who were staying at his mother's Embarcadero apartment in Aztec on separate occasions.

The male victim, who was 4 years old when sexually abused, told San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies that Martin forced him to engage in sexual acts while the two were watching pornographic movies in the teen's bedroom, court documents state.

Martin was also criminally charged following allegations he raped a 4-year-old girl on several occasions, while his teenaged friend twice watched the illicit acts, court documents state.

The victim later told police she never reported the incident because Martin said her mother would "get really mad at her" if she found out about the sexual acts. The girl further alleged that Martin also made her watch pornographic movies.

When police first interviewed Martin about the allegations Jan. 10, he denied the incidents. Eventually, he told officers, "Fine, I did it. Get me some help. I can't remember anything."

Martin's Wednesday court appearance was the teen's first since being ordered to undergo a 15-day evaluation at the Youth Development Diagnostic Center in Albuquerque to determine whether treatment at a juvenile facility would benefit him.

The hearing was continued because defense and prosecuting attorneys do not yet have a copy of the evaluation report, according to Assistant District Attorney Marguerite Carr.

Although District Judge Sandra Price has not yet scheduled a hearing date to determine whether Martin will be sentenced as an adult or as a juvenile, Carr said the judge tentatively set another hearing for May 23.

During that hearing, the judge will determine whether to sentence Martin as a juvenile or as an adult, and also may decide whether to send the teen to jail, prison or a treatment center, Carr said.

Martin could be sentenced as a juvenile because he was 15 years old when the two sexual offenses occurred. If sentenced as a juvenile, he will be released from a state facility in less than two and a half years when he turns 21.

However, if he is sentenced as an adult, he faces at least 30 years in prison. ..more.. by Rhys Saunders

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