A former Coachella Valley Unified School District teacher who repeatedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s young daughter was bound for state prison Tuesday to serve a sentence of 36 years to life behind bars.
Luis Alfonso Martinez, 43, of La Quinta, was convicted last month of two counts each of lewd acts on a minor and oral copulation of a child under 10 years old, as well as one count of committing multiple lewd acts on an underage victim. Jurors acquitted him of distributing explicit material to a minor.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerry Yang on Friday convened a sentencing hearing that originally had been scheduled for Monday. It was unclear whether the hearing was moved up due to scheduling conflicts announced by the prosecution or defense.
Sheriff’s officials on Monday received orders confirming Martinez’s transfer to the state penitentiary, and the process of relocating him began Tuesday.
The defendant was arrested in August 2021 following a sheriff’s department investigation that spanned nearly a month. According to court records, it was initiated after the victim, identified in court documents only as “R.M.,” contacted detectives in the wake of psychological counseling stemming from the sexual abuse, which occurred when the girl was between 5 and 9 years old, from October 2010 to October 2014.
According to court papers, 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 sired three children.
The prosecution said Martinez routinely digitally penetrated the victim and fondled her, sometimes while laying 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, was not implicated in the 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 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,” according to the brief. “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.”
At other times, he 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 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 encounters with her. According to court papers, the then-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.
He had no documented prior felony convictions.