WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A jury has convicted a fugitive corrections officer of physically, sexually and psychologically abusing his wife over a three-year period — despite the fact that he fled the country for the Dominican Republic days before the end of the trial.
Francisco Martinez, 43, was convicted in absentia of third-degree rape, first and second-degree stalking and second-degree menacing in court Thursday, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
A prison guard at Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY, Martinez was acquitted on a higher charge of forcible rape.
He had been free on bail, but was not present in court for the trial after fleeing to the Dominican Republic last weekend, according to reports.
If caught, Martinez could face up to seven years in prison.
"For years, the victim lived in fear at the hands of a serial abuser who threatened and intimidated her,” District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “I commend the victim for her courage in coming forward and telling her story to the jury, and I thank the jurors for their service and careful attention in this case.”
According to the DA’s office, domestic violence is one of the only types of crime that have not fallen over the past decade. The NYPD responded to about 700 domestic violence incidents each day over the past year, totaling nearly 258,000 throughout the year.
Vance announced his office will “continue to urge the state legislature to pass the Aggravated Domestic Violence bill,” which seeks to create a new class E felony for an abuser who commits two or more misdemeanor domestic violence offenses within five years, "including those involving intimate partners, non-traditional familial relationships, and adult children abusing parents.”
Under the charge, defendants could be placed under probation for five years or sent to state prison for up to four years. The law would also extend the period of time for orders of protection.
For more information on the District Attorney’s proposed legislation or to access resources for victims of domestic violence, please visit www.manhattanda.com. Those seeking assistance can call the District Attorney’s domestic violence hotline at 212-335-4308.