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Former deputy pleads guilty to sexual assault of arrestee


This article contains a description of sexual assault. Help is available by contacting the La Piñon 24-hour hotline at 575-526-3437. 

A former Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy faces a decade in prison after federal investigators said he sexually assaulted a woman he was arresting.

Michael Martinez, 34, pleaded guilty today to violating the civil rights of a female arrestee by sexually assaulting her inside his patrol car and to obstructing justice by attempting to destroy his patrol car’s in-unit camera, according to a news release.

“Civil rights violations, particularly when they involve a member of law enforcement, are of tremendous concern,” said Special Agent Raul Bujanda of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office in the news release. “The entire law enforcement profession is tarnished when an officer betrays the oath to protect and serve. The FBI will vigorously investigate any officer or agent of the law who is breaking the rules that he or she is sworn to uphold or is violating the civil rights of others.”

According to court records, Martinez sexually assaulted a woman on April 30, 2023, while investigating a possible DWI. Federal investigators said he handcuffed her inside his DASO vehicle before sexually assaulting her. Later, police said Martinez attempted to destroy the camera inside his DASO unit because the camera captured footage of his assault.

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. Martinez faces a decade in prison, according to the news release. Martinez must pay restitution to the woman and, upon release, adhere to state and federal sex offender registration requirements.

sexual assault, Former deputy, pleads guilty