Posted September 1, 2007

Teen charged with sex assault

Youth allegedly assaulted girl, 8

By Eric Litke
Sheboygan Press staff

A 17-year-old Sheboygan boy is facing more than 40 years in prison after being charged Friday for the alleged sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl, according to a criminal complaint.

Martin L. Gamez, of 1212 Erie Ave., is charged with felony first-degree sexual assault of a child and misdemeanor exposing genitals to a child.

Police say Gamez was discovered in the early morning hours Aug. 16 masturbating behind the girl, who was kneeling on a bed naked from the waist down. A family friend of the victim attacked Gamez, and minutes later the girl's mother stabbing the teen twice, sending him to the hospital.

Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco said there is no evidence Gamez had sexual intercourse with the child — and the girl will not talk about it — but seminal fluid was found on the child's buttocks, which meets the statutory definition of sexual contact.

Gamez was not charged until Friday because prosecutors were awaiting a state crime lab analysis of the fluid, DeCecco said. The lab confirmed the substance as seminal fluid on Thursday, but likely will not complete a DNA test comparing it to Gamez for several weeks, he said.

Without the fluid, DeCecco said he would have been forced to file a less severe charge, since there is no proof Gamez had or intended to have additional sexual contact with the girl.

According to the complaint:

Gamez was left alone in the house with the victim and her 6-year-old brother about 3 a.m. when the victim's mother, the mother's boyfriend and the 30-year-old family friend left to pick up food and soda at a nearby convenience store. Gamez was sleeping on the couch at the time.

The friend returned first and — investigating the victim's partially open bedroom door — found Gamez masturbating behind the girl. The boy was also in the bedroom.

The man then grabbed Gamez by the neck and threw him to the floor, kicking and punching him and beating him with a portable fan and a toy snow shovel.

The mother and boyfriend returned during the struggle and persuaded the friend to wait outside until police arrived. Officers found Gamez sitting on the couch with stab wounds to his arm and leg, and the victim's mother said she was responsible.

Gamez's attorney, George Limbeck, declined to discuss specifics of the case after the initial court appearance Friday, but he said the complaint does not paint a full picture.

"I can tell you that there is going to be more to this story about why (and) what happened than appears in the complaint," Limbeck said. "Whether it amounts to a substantive defense or is more mitigating in terms of sentencing, I don't know yet because I don't have enough information."

A preliminary hearing date has been scheduled for Sept. 26. If Gamez is bound over for trial, it will automatically void a deferred conviction agreement from a case in which he allegedly forced a 15-year-old girl to have oral sex, DeCecco said.

Gamez would then face up to 25 years in prison on a charge of second-degree sexual assault. The charge would have been dismissed if he stayed out of trouble.

The 27-year-old mother of the victim in the latest case, who is not being named to protect her daughter's identity, has been charged with misdemeanor battery after DeCecco determined the time delay between the assault and the stabbing meant she was not acting in defense of her daughter. The charge carries a penalty of up to 15 months in prison, but DeCecco has said he will not seek jail time.

The 30-year-old man who stopped the assault and beat up the teen isn't facing any charges because he is entitled to the "defense of others" exception under Wisconsin law, DeCecco said.

Gamez remains in jail on a $50,000 cash bond and a probation hold from the prior offense. A detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, may soon be added to that list, as officials have informed DeCecco that Gamez may be in the country illegally.

Reach Eric Litke at (920) 453-5119 and ... 62/SHEnews