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Video of child's testimony shown in Casper resident's sex assault trial

Video of child's testimony shown in Casper resident's sex assault trial


A 10-year-old girl described being sexually assaulted by a Casper resident in video footage shown Tuesday to jurors during the second day of Miguel Martinez’s trial.

In the video, the girl told a forensic interviewer for the Children’s Advocacy Project that Martinez assaulted her in a bathroom. When the interviewer asked the girl what should happen to Martinez, the girl did not hesitate.

Martinez should go to prison, the girl said.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, held in Natrona County District Court, defense attorney Dylan Rosalez implied the interview had included leading questions and suggested that the interviewer had not done enough to learn about drug use in the girl’s home.

The victim’s mother reported the alleged assault in March.

The footage shown Tuesday was dated March 24, a day after police were notified of the alleged assault. In the video, the girl responded to a broad range of questions that served to establish rapport before revealing her story. As the girl hurried through her retelling of events, the interviewer frequently asked follow-up questions.

The girl told the interviewer from beneath a pink blanket that after Martinez assaulted her in the bathroom she ran downstairs and told her mother. Her mother later fought Martinez in a parking lot while the girl hid in a closet, she said.

While the video footage played, Martinez sat watching with something between a frown and a scowl on his face.

After a 15-minute recess, District Attorney Michael Blonigen asked about the girl’s body language and her frequent use of the phrase “I don’t know.”

The forensic interviewer said the phrase was often used as a technique to avoid answering uncomfortable questions.

Under cross-examination, the interviewer told Rosalez that she had gone into the interview with “as little information as possible,” and tried to avoid leading questions.

The girl was taken to Wyoming Medical Center for a sexual assault exam on March 23, according to court documents. Nurses found redness and abrasions on the girl’s genitalia.

According to the documents, Martinez was drunk on the night of the assault and a breath test registered a result of .218, nearly three times the legal limit to drive.

Martinez is standing trial on one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. If found guilty, Martinez could face up to 70 years in prison.

The trial is scheduled to run through Thursday.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson joined the Star-Tribune in 2017. He covers courts and law enforcement agencies in Natrona County and across the state. Shane studied journalism at the University of Missouri and worked at newspapers there before moving to Wyoming.

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