Suspect Arrested After Children Sexually Assaulted
May 10, 2006 -- An arrest has been made in three cases of sexual assault near a Valley school. Police say three girls were assaulted around Greenberg Elementary, all by the same man.
Fresno police say the three victims were between the ages of 6 and 9. They all gave similar descriptions of the suspect and his vehicle, and just days after a full-scale investigation was launched, the pieces came together.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says Jose Luis Martinez sexually assaulted three girls near Greenberg Elementary School between April 24th and May 5th, getting them to come to his car, then driving them away from the scene.
Dyer says Martinez's arrest came after police stepped up patrols around Greenberg Elementary and three other schools.
He says an investigator in an unmarked car saw a white Jeep Cherokee matching the suspect vehicle's description in a parking lot at Kings Canyon and Willow.
The driver of that vehicle was pulled over after he failed to stop at a stop sign. He was detained, questioned and later arrested.
"We developed evidence and information that linked him to crimes that had been committed," said Chief Dyer.
The arrest came just days after police launched their investigation and just hours after the public was put on alert.
A Fresno State criminologist says when it comes child predators, the longer they stay on the streets, the worse the crimes can become.
"This is the learning curve for them, and the sooner police catch him, the better. Because as he practices and does these things, he learns how to avoid detection," said criminologist Eric Hickey.
Fresno police have declined to say whether Martinez has a criminal history, or if he is a registered sex offender. But even if this is his first offense, he still faces the possibility of life in prison.
"Since there are multiple victims in this sexual assault case, this is commonly referred to as one strike and you're out," said Dyer.
42-year-old Jose Luis Martinez is facing three counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, as well as other sexual assault charges.
Police say they're also in the process of securing a search warrant for his home, to see if he may have been involved in other crimes, as well.
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