For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced a guilty verdict in a recent trial involving charges of sexual abuse. Joseph Samuel Martinez, 30, from Reno, was found guilty by jury of one count of Sexual Assault with a Child Under 14, Lewdness with a Child Under 14, and one count of Statutory Sexual Seduction of a Child under 16 last Thursday after a four day jury trial in District Court. Based on the conviction, Martinez faces two life terms in prison, and will be sentenced on March 20, 2019.
The investigation against Martinez was coordinated through the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center and led by the Reno Police Department with assistance from the Sparks Police Department and the Department of Parole and Probation.
In September of 2017, a Sparks Police officer located two middle school girls who were reported as runaways by their parents. During the investigation, officers learned of allegations of sexual abuse by Martinez. RPD Sex Crimes Detectives took over the investigation and learned that Martinez, who was on probation at the time for fraud charges, had made contact with the girls over Facebook in April of 2017. Between April and September, Martinez provided the girls with rides in his car, cell phones, alcohol and cigarettes. In September, when the girls decided to run away, Martinez picked them up in his vehicle and took them to his Reno home where he sexually abused them.
Martinez was ultimately arrested and this office filed formal criminal charges against him. Martinez pled not guilty and posted bail during trial and appeared out of custody for the remainder of his trial.
During trial, Deputy District Attorney Nickolas Graham argued Martinez’s grooming behavior coupled with DNA, victim testimony and medical evidence proved the sexual abuse had occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.