Boston, MA (March 24, 2022) – A police officer in Norwood has been arrested following the discovery of several child sexual abuse photos that were in his possession.
According to reports, Officer Joe Martinez was accused of recording and possessing images of child sexual abuse.
Reports show that Martinez had numerous pornographic photos of children under the age of 18 who were posing for nude photos. The officer also had secret sex surveillance of a nude person who was under the age of 18.
Martinez was arrested on Thursday, March 17, and placed on administrative leave. Reports show that Martinez has been with the Boston Police Department since 2008.
An arraignment was expected on March 18 in Dedham District Court.
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Sex Abuse Cases
Many people are confused when it comes to the difference between a civil sexual abuse case and a criminal sexual abuse case. It is important to understand the key differences between the two.
When a person is charged criminally for sexual abuse, they are accused of committing a crime. The district attorney will have to go to trial to prove that the defendant engaged in the accused actions in order to secure a criminal conviction. In criminal cases, the prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Once a criminal conviction is made, the defendant is sentenced to prison, required to pay fines or to perform other tasks as penalties.
When a person is found guilty in a civil court of a sexual abuse act, the defendant does not face any criminal penalties. The defendant will not be required to go to jail, pay fines, or register as a sex offender. Instead, they will be required to pay compensation to the claimant.
Who Can File a Criminal Case Against a Sexual Predator?
The decision to pursue criminal charges against someone is made by the district attorney where the offense occurred. The district attorney can keep a victim informed as to what is happening within the criminal case. However, a victim will not generally have a say as to whether or not criminal charges are filed.
Boston, MA – Jarrett Woodruff Sentenced for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
A Pittsfield man was sentenced to three to five years in prison for failing to register as a sexual offender.
In August 2018, 35-year-old Jarrett Woodruff was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. He was sentenced to 251 days in prison. After serving his sentence, he was released on the conditions that he would register as a Level 3 sex offender.
Instead of registering, Woodruff fled the state of Massachusetts and went to live in Ohio, where he did not register as a sex offender. In 2019, the Massachusetts state court issued a warrant for Woodruff’s arrest based on a new child sex abuse charge. Woodruff then fled Ohio to the state of Georgia, where he also failed to register as a sex offender.
In October 2020, he was located living in an apartment in Dunwoody, Georgia. He was apprehended after jumping from a balcony while attempting to evade police.
Woodruff was transported back to Massachusetts, where he was subsequently charged for failing to register. On November 21, 2021, Woodruff pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register. He was sentenced to three years in prison and five years of supervised release.
Springfield, MA – Lionel Cruz Sentenced to 12-14 Years in Prison for Child Sex Abuse
On March 15, a man who was accused of committing sexual acts against one child between 2016 and 2018 was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison.
Reports from the Hampden District Attorney’s Office show that Lionel Cruz committed multiple acts of sexual abuse to a young child in the Springfield area.
The trial, which started on March 8, lasted only two days. During this time, the young child who was subject to the abuse provided testimony surrounding her recollection of what took place.
The jury was able to quickly return a guilty verdict against Cruz. He was found guilty on ten separate counts, including:
- Rape of a Child (2 counts)
- Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 (5 counts)
- Assault and Battery (2 Counts)
- Intimidation of a Witness
On the 15th of March, Cruz was sentenced to a period of between 12 and 14 years in prison. After his release, Cruz will spend five years on probation.
What is Intimidation of a Witness?
A perpetrator can be accused and convicted of intimidation of a witness in the state of Massachusetts. A criminal conviction for this felony act can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years.
In sex abuse cases, we often see victims refrain from telling anyone about their abuse for several months or even years after it occurs. One of the leading causes of the delay is usually that the victim was threatened or intimidated in some way.
In order for a person to be criminally convicted on intimidation of a witness, the prosecutor must be able to prove that:
The defendant did or attempted to do, either directly or indirectly, any of the following to another person:
- Caused physical injury, economic injury, or emotional injury
- Conveyed an offer, a gift, or a promise of anything of value
- Caused property damage
Many victims of sexual abuse are threatened by the perpetrators that they are going to face serious consequences if they tell anyone what took place. As a result, a lot of victims do not tell anyone what they are suffering through.
Perpetrators often groom their victims before engaging in any sexual acts against them. This form of manipulating behavior provides perpetrators more confidence in what they are doing and that their victims will keep it a secret.
What is “Grooming” of Sexual Abuse Victims?
Grooming is a common practice engaged in by perpetrators of sexual abuse. These actions involve engaging in various behaviors that are designed to manipulate the perception of others, build trust, and reduce the chances that a victim will be believed should they come forward with accusations of abuse.
According to reports from the American Bar Association, victim grooming is performed for various reasons. These include:
- Manipulating the perception of other adults who are around the child who is abused
- Manipulating the child into becoming a cop-operating participant in the abuse in order to reduce the chances of them reporting the acts
- Reducing the likelihood that a child will be believed by others should they come forward with accusations of abuse
- Reducing the chances of the abuse being detected by others
There are typically six different stages of grooming of both children and adult sexual abuse victims. These six stages include:
- Stage one: Targeting and/or selecting a victim to be abused.
- Stage Two: Gaining the trust of the victim.
- Stage Three: Filling a psychological or a social need of the victim.
- Stage Four: Isolating the victim away from others.
- Stage Five: Make sexual contact with the victim.
- Stage Six: Maintain control over the victim.
Sexual abuse perpetrators follow these six steps to gain control over their victims, manipulate them, and continue the acts of abuse. In some cases, abuse can go on for several months or even years.
Discovery in Childhood Sexual Abuse Cases
People who are subjected to sexual abuse as children often suffer the effects for several years after. When victims come forward after being abused, they have the ability to file a civil lawsuit against the abuser regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed.
When a victim pursues civil actions against their abuser, the term “discovery” will come up at some point. In civil law, this term is used in reference to learning that a victim has suffered an injury. There are many instances where child sex abuse victims do not come forward until several years later.
There are many reasons why victims wait to file lawsuits. In Massachusetts, victims of sexual abuse have a specific time frame in which they can file a claim against their abuser. Waiting to file a claim for several years can be referred to as a “delayed discovery.” In general, a delayed discovery can be caused by many things. These factors include:
- Deceit: The victim was not aware of the fact that they were being sexually abused. For example, there are instances where victims are abused by health care providers during physical examinations.
- Physical or Mental Disability: There are instances where the victim is physically or mentally unable to report the abuse when it occurs.
- Emotional Distress Caused by the Abuse: Victims who are sexually abused over suffer overwhelming emotional trauma. The memories of abuse can be suppressed or result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When victims are sexually abused, it is important that they come forward as soon as possible. It is also important to understand that not everyone is able to do so. Thankfully, the law is typically on the side of victims under these circumstances.
When victims are able to come forward with what they experienced, a skilled sexual abuse lawyer in Massachusetts can help them. Victims are able to pursue legal action against their abusers and hold them to account for their actions.
Who Can File a Civil Case Against A Sexual Predator?
A civil case can be filed by any person who is a victim of a crime. In a sexual abuse case, the victim can file a case against the responsible party. These cases can be quite complex, especially if multiple parties are listed.
For example, if a person is abused at school, they can file a claim against the perpetrator and possibly against the school. The victim will have to demonstrate that the school played a role in the abuse or that they failed to address it once it was reported.
Civil cases provide victims with a voice that is often overlooked when it comes to criminal trials. In civil courts, the case must only be proved beyond a preponderance of the evidence. This is generally a much lower standard of proof than what is required in criminal court.
Do Criminal and Civil Cases Impact Each Other?
A criminal conviction is not necessary for a person to file a civil sexual abuse case against a perpetrator. However, a criminal conviction can help prove a victim’s case.
Given the fact that the standard of proof is much higher in criminal cases, a defendant who is criminally convicted of a crime cannot argue that they did not convict the crime when it comes to civil court.
Why Victims Should Pursue Civil Cases
Victims of sexual abuse may receive some closure having their abuser convicted. However, a criminal conviction does not focus on the actual needs of a victim. There are many cases where victims have to go through medical treatment, receive counseling and other psychological services, and have other financial needs.
Victims who file civil cases are able to receive financial compensation that they can use to cover their damages. Working with our Massachusetts sexual abuse lawyers The Law Office of Carmen L. Durso can ensure you are able to protect your legal rights and get the justice you deserve.
If you have been subjected to sexual abuse as a child, our Massachusetts law firm will stand by your side and help you get justice. We will do all that we can to help you throughout the healing process. We will fight to hold the person who caused you harm to account and help you get the justice you deserve.
We truly stand by our dedication to helping sex abuse survivors and bringing sexual predators and abusers to justice. Contact our Massachusetts sexual abuse law firm at 617-728-9123 to get help now.
Notes: This post was created through the use of secondary sources. The details surrounding this incident have not been independently verified. If any information is incorrect, contact the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso as soon as possible so that we can correct the post to include the most accurate information available.
Disclaimers: We have provided compassionate legal representation to children, adult survivors of child sex abuse, and people who have been assaulted by an adult for more than 50 years in Massachusetts. None of the information in this post is intended to be medical or legal advice. This is post is not a solicitation for business.