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AIDS Patient Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charge

December 22, 1988

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.

Martinez is to be sentenced to a prison term of up to 8 years on Jan. 27 by Superior Court Judge Steven Z. Perren.

Elliott said prosecutors at first wanted to charge Martinez with attempted murder with AIDS as his deadly weapon. However, they "couldn't prove that Mr. Martinez specifically intended to pass the disease on or to kill him," she said.

No arrangements were made for the boy to testify over a video monitor because he did not demonstrate any difficulty discussing the assault until Monday, she added.

Arrangements for testifying in separate rooms must be made in advance of the trial, she said.

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