Photo Courtesy of: Libby Volgyes/Palm Beach Post
Photographer: Libby Volgyes/Palm Beach Post
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - What to do with Bobby Martinez Jr. of Belle Glade?
What to do with a boy who at age 14 snatched a 10-year-old stranger on her way to school, sexually violated her repeatedly and further humiliated her by relieving himself on her?
Two attorneys and a judge meted that out Friday at Martinez' s sentencing. Martinez had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery on a child under 12 and kidnapping of a child under 12 for the attack last year.
Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes had to decide whether to try to get treatment for Martinez now or at the end of a long prison stint.
The prison system's practice is to provide therapy for sex offenders in the final months of a prison term, according to testimony Friday. But a psychologist testifying for the defense said if therapy is to be effective, it must be done early on.
Kastrenakes decided on a long sentence, 25 years in prison along with a lifetime of supervision on an intensive probation reserved for sex offenders. But he also urged that whatever therapy for sex offenders is available in prison be extended to Martinez now.
"It's too horrible to even think about what this defendant did to this child," Kastrenakes said. "But we are going to have to deal with Bobby Martinez when he comes out of the prison system."
The defense psychologist said Martinez is at a high risk of re-offending without treatment and advocated sending him to a Pompano Beach center that treats sexually deviant teens for 24-hour supervision and intensive therapy. Juveniles can be salvaged, said Dr. Sheila Rapa, before the behavior is ingrained and before they sit in prison continuing to think deviant thoughts.
"Treatment works for juveniles. We know that," Rapa said.
Rapa said Martinez's act usually reserved for the bathroom was unusual and alarming -- more so than even Martinez's threat to kill the victim if she told.
Assistant State Attorney Daliah Weiss, who asked for a prison sentence of 40 years, asked Rapa if she knew why Martinez did what he did.
That's an answer, Rapa said, which only comes with long-term treatment.
Public Defender Yvette Farnsworth Baker acknowledged the conundrum the case presented.
"It's such a difficult case to come to sentencing, both for Bobby and the community."
Also alarming, said Kastrenakes, was that Martinez had grown up with parents, who though divorced, were still involved in his life. Martinez's father testified Friday he'd tried to keep his son attending church.
"I don't understand what's going on here," said Bobby Martinez Sr. "We had a real close relationship. I'm surprised this came up."
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