Prosecutor: Pastor may have tried to destroy fingerprints

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2016 4:40 PM

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A pastor who has been on the run for nearly two years after he was convicted of sexual assault charges in New Jersey may have tried to obliterate his own fingerprints, a prosecutor said.

Gregorio Martinez's 10 fingers were bloodied and bandaged when he was detained in Honduras in August, Assistant Prosecutor Linda Claude-Oben revealed in court Friday.

Martinez, 49, was once a Pentecostal preacher in Jersey City. He was found guilty last year of molesting a 13-year-old boy he knew through church. Prosecutors say Martinez then fled to Nicaragua.

He appeared in court in Jersey City on Friday, NJ.com reported (http://bit.ly/2hgEcQG ). Hudson County Superior Court Judge John Young Jr. ordered Martinez held without bail pending sentencing March 24.

"It's obvious Mr. Martinez, but for the extraordinary effort of law enforcement to secure his return, had no intention of coming back," Young said. "If given the opportunity, he would again leave."

Martinez faces up to five years in prison.

He also faces additional charges after three 19-year-old men also accused of him of sexual assault following his initial conviction. The judge set bail at a combined $1 million cash on those counts.

In court, Martinez only said he didn't know whom the judge was referring to when he used the initials of the three young men.

NJ.com reported in May that Martinez had been hiding in Esteli, Nicaragua, and had secured a position at a church.

Members of the congregation said he was charismatic and regularly preached at religious festivals and churches. Martinez claimed he could cure sickness and cast out demons. He also frequently spoke in tongues.

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This story has been corrected to show that Martinez was apprehended in Honduras in August, not last week.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.