A judge sentenced an Evansville man to up to 12 years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a pregnant woman in 2014.

Joseph Martinez will serve between eight and 12 years in prison for second-degree sexual assault and between eight and 10 years for aggravated assault and battery. Martinez will be given credit for 468 days already served and the sentences will run at the same time.

The victim of the crime spoke in Natrona County District Court, saying Martinez had assaulted her for more than a decade. She described the assaults in detail and asked Judge Catherine Wilking to send Martinez to prison.

“I would be afraid that he would do it again to someone else,” the woman said.

When Wilking offered Martinez the opportunity to speak on his own behalf, the man shook his head before murmuring “no.”

Martinez took an Alford plea in July, in which he admitted that prosecutors could likely convince a jury of his guilt, but maintained his own innocence on the sexual assault charge. He pleaded guilty to the assault charge, saying he did not remember committing the crime due to drinking, but knew he had done it.

On Thursday, prosecutor Nathan Shumway only spoke to tell Wilking that the victim wanted to make a statement.

Martinez’s victim spoke at length, describing a history of violent sexual abuse she suffered at his hands. She said her children witnessed him assaulting her on at least one occasion and have since been in counseling.

“These scars that have been inflicted on us will remain with us forever,” she said.

The woman said she hoped Martinez would be rehabilitated in prison.

“I pray that he finds God and asks God for forgiveness,” she said.

During the woman’s statements, Martinez looked straight ahead, motionless.

Martinez’s lawyer Kerri Johnson spoke next, saying her client took responsibility for his actions and will seek treatment and counseling.

After sentencing Martinez, Wilking commended the victim’s “grace and dignity” when speaking.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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