County prosecutors this week allowed an AIDS patient charged with sodomizing a 6-year-old boy to plead guilty to a lesser charge to spare the victim a courtroom ordeal.
Gerardo Martinez, 31, of Port Hueneme admitted to engaging in lewd acts with the boy and pleaded guilty to a "special allegation" that bars him from receiving probation.
The boy had become frightened during 3 hours of testimony, said Ventura County Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah S. Elliott. Finding it difficult to talk further about the incident, which occurred last summer, the boy had asked that Martinez be made to leave the room, Elliott said.
During a recess, prosecutors agreed to Martinez's request for a lesser charge--which he had made throughout the case--when he agreed to admit having substantial sexual contact with the child. That makes a prison sentence certain, Elliott said.