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Grafton jury convicts man, 61, of sex assault on pre-teen girl

Jose Martinez

A Grafton, N.D., man faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted this week of one count of sexually assaulting a preteen girl in 2005.  

The same jury could not reach a verdict on two other similar counts.

The jury in state district court in Grafton, N.D., on Monday found Jose Martinez, 61, guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition of the girl, who was under 10 in the summer of 2005 when she said the assault happened.

The girl, who is not related to Martinez, was being baby-sat by Martinez and his wife in their home in Grafton.

 She said Martinez placed his hand over her mouth while he was sexually assaulting her, according to court documents.

The girl testified against Martinez, who testified in his own defense, as did his wife.

Judge Richard Geiger declared a mistrial on the two counts on which the jury said it was  hung.

Walsh County State’s Attorney Barbara Whelan could re-try Martinez on those counts. But she said Wednesday she won’t.

“The jury worked so hard,” she said. The fact jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on the two counts after doing so on the first count should be respected, Whelan said.

The charges would have been Class AA felonies under current state law, each with maximum penalties of life in prison without parole if he was convicted.

But under state law in 2005, the allegations constituted a Class A felony, with a top penalty of 20 years in prison.

After a pre-sentence investigation, which typically can take two months or more, Martinez will be sentenced.

He remains in custody in Grafton.