A correctional officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn was convicted Friday of raping a female inmate at least 10 times over five months, the Department of Justice said.
Carlos Richard Martinez, 48, a Brooklyn resident who was a lieutenant at the jail, was charged with 20 counts of sexual abuse and civil rights violations. He faces a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Edward R. Korman.
No sentencing date has been set.
Martinez and two other correctional officers — Lt. Eugenio Perez, 46, and Officer Armando Moronta, 39, both of Brooklyn — were charged in separate indictments on May 25, 2017. They are accused of sexually abusing female inmates inside a federal jail in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors said the three used threats and physical violence to intimidate a total of nine female inmates in separate cases.
According to a news release, Martinez’ indictment included sexual assaults by Martinez on one woman from Dec. 13, 2015 to April 2016.
“As found by the jury, Carlos Richard Martinez willfully abused his position of power as a federal correctional officer by repeatedly raping a female inmate entrusted to his care at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn,” Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District, said in the news release.
Donoghue added that Martinez “exploited” the victim’s fear of being punished with additional jail time and other disciplinary action.
But Donoghue said Martinez’ attempts to “intimidate” the victim into silence ultimately failed as evidenced by her “brave” testimony at the two-week trial.
“Martinez has now been held to account for violent, criminal misconduct that will never be tolerated in a correctional institution,” Donoghue said. DOJ Special Agent-in-Charge Ronald G. Gardella, of the Inspector General’s New York Field Office, added in the release that Martinez’ conviction shows that no correctional officer is above the law and he called his conduct “reprehensible.”
“The OIG is fiercely committed to working with its law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute instances of sexual abuse and abuse of power within our federal prison system.”
Prosecutors said the victim, who testified at trial using the name, Maria, spoke little English and worked as a cleaner inside the prison. They said Martinez directed her and other female prisoners to clean on the second floor of the Detention Center’s East Building, including his office. As she was preparing to do so Dec. 13, he forced her to perform oral sex on him and raped her.
In the ensuing months, Martinez repeatedly raped “Maria” while she cleaned on the weekend, when his office area on the second floor of the jail is generally empty, according to the release. She testified that during the attacks Martinez monitored security video footage to make sure that no one would see the assault.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the Eastern District, said Moronta pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual abuse of a ward on Nov. 8 but he has not yet been sentenced.
Marzulli said Perez is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 20 on charges of depravation of civil rights, aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, sexual abuse of a ward and attempted sexual abuse.