The Department of Corrections crew leader charged with forcing a female prisoner to have sex in return for favors has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Michael John Martin, 48, of Wood Lake, was sentenced on Thursday, May 3 at the Yellow Medicine County District Court on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of a plea agreement, two additional charges of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree were also dismissed.
Additional charges of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct brought against Martin by Chippewa County resulted in a stayed 48-month prison sentence. Instead, Martin was ordered by the court to serve a concurrent one year jail sentence followed by 10 years of supervised probation. The extra charges were filed by Chippewa County after it was revealed in the course of the investigation that several of the sexual encounters occurred there.
In addition to having to register as a predatory offender, Martin will remain on conditional release for 10 years after the completion of his prison term.
Martin worked for the Department of Corrections as a crew leader in Sentencing-to-Service, a program that allows inmates to contribute time in community projects as part of their service period. Martin came under investigation after the woman informed a counselor at Project Turnabout about the incidents, prompting the counselor to contact law enforcement.
The woman was an inmate at the Yellow Medicine County Jail when Martin served as her supervisor on one of the community service crews. The incidents were reported to have occurred between August 2016 and May 2017, including at least one sexual encounter in the program’s van.
Martin and his defense team had sought a more lenient sentence by arguing that the woman made sexual advances to him.
The prosecution pushed back on this line of reasoning, arguing instead that Martin held a position of authority over the inmate. They also cited his lack of remorse for his actions. The prosecution also cited social media messages sent to the woman by Martin in which he made sexual comments and offered special privileges in exchange for sex.