A jury was seated Tuesday in the trial of a former Coachella Valley Unified School District teacher accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s young daughter.
Luis Alfonso Martinez, 43, of La Quinta, is charged with two counts each of lewd acts on a minor and oral copulation of a child under 10 years old, as well as one count each of committing multiple lewd acts on an underage victim and distributing explicit material to a minor.
After more than a week of jury selection, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerry Yang on Tuesday swore in a panel to hear the case at the Riverside Hall of Justice, after which the prosecution and defense made opening statements and initial witnesses were summoned.
Martinez, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail, was arrested in August 2021 following a sheriff’s department investigation that spanned nearly a month.
According to court records, the investigation was initiated after the victim, identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe,” contacted detectives in the wake of psychological counseling stemming from the alleged sexual abuse, which occurred when the girl was between 5 and 9 years old, from October 2010 to October 2014.
Court papers state that Martinez dated the victim’s mother for a dozen years, while he was also involved in at least one other relationship with a woman in Mexico, whom he ultimately married and had three children with.
The prosecution alleges that Martinez routinely digitally penetrated the victim and fondled her, sometimes while lying in bed with her and her mother watching movies, or sitting with her on the living room couch of her mother’s residence.
The woman, whose identity was not released, has not been implicated in the alleged assaults. She told investigators she was unaware of anything amiss and viewed the defendant as a father figure to her two daughters, mainly the youngest one.
According to a trial brief filed by the prosecution, Martinez allegedly preyed on the girl, molesting her after her mother fell asleep and the victim was trying to rest.
“One time, she was on the couch and felt someone next to her,” the brief said. “She felt a hand on her vagina but did not want to get up because she was scared. She had a blanket over her head and could feel the defendant touch her waist and move his hands down to her vagina. Eventually, she got up and went to her sister’s room.”
There were occasions when Martinez loaded pornography onto his mobile phone and showed the child “lesbian sex, male with female sex, foursomes and fivesomes,” court papers allege.
At other times, he allegedly took the girl’s hand and placed it on his penis to masturbate him, but she would find an excuse to leave his side, according to the brief.
She did not relate any of the alleged abuse to her mother at the time but did mention it to her sister, though in vague terms, the brief stated.
Prior to Martinez’s arrest, detectives arranged a “pretext phone call” during which the victim contacted the defendant and confronted him about his alleged encounters with her. According to court papers, the former educator did not admit or deny anything, remaining largely silent throughout the conversation.
The victim did not attend any of his classes at John Kelley Elementary School in Thermal, prosecutors said.
Martinez has no documented prior felony convictions.