Sep. 18—PINEVILLE, Mo. — A Goodman-area resident has been ordered to stand trial on charges that he exploited and raped a mentally disabled woman.
Associate Judge John LePage decided at a preliminary hearing Wednesday in McDonald County Circuit Court that there was probable cause for Michael A. Martinez, 61, to stand trial on charges of first-degree rape and financial exploitation of a disabled person. The judge set the defendant's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Thursday of next week.
Martinez is one of three defendants who were charged with financially exploiting a 21-year-old woman by depriving her of wages she was receiving from a home care service for providing care to Patty Martinez, one of her alleged exploiters, and by having more than $14,000 worth of Social Security payments to her deposited in a bank account they controlled.
Probable-cause affidavits state that Michael Martinez, who was married to Patty Martinez, also benefited from a $1,200 stimulus payment to the victim that was deposited in a joint account of the victim and Michael Martinez, and then transferred to his own account.
A second man involved in the exploitation case, Dale W. Richardson, 39, recently pleaded guilty to the financial exploitation count and three counts of child endangerment filed in connection with the care of two children. He received suspended sentences and probation.
Patty Martinez, 45, of rural Goodman, has not yet had a preliminary hearing in the case.
A probable-cause affidavit indicates that the rape charge was brought against Michael Martinez when an investigation by the McDonald County Sheriff's Department determined that he had impregnated the mentally disabled woman while she was living with him and Patty Martinez.
A mental evaluation of the woman found that she had a mild intellectual disability, a history of sexual and psychological abuse in childhood and requires "help making life decisions" as well as "supervision regarding relationships with people other than caregivers, especially men," to ensure that she "is not taken advantage of or manipulated," according to the affidavit.