NJ--Victims urge investigation into judge, DA, & NJ ministers
For immediate release: Thursday, May 26, 2016
We urge the New Jersey bar to investigate whether a prosecutor or a judge acted improperly in a troubling child sex abuse case involving a fugitive minister. And we urge law enforcement to investigate whether witnesses or church officials did the same.
For reasons that aren’t fully clear, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez and Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Linda Claude-Oben let a convicted child molesting cleric remain free on $250,000 bail. That criminal, Rev. Gregorio Martinez, vanished weeks later and now heads a church in Nicaragua, where kids and families are even more vulnerable to a charismatic child molester than kids and families in the US are.
If the judge or prosecutor goofed up, mistakenly enabling a dangerous predator to escape, they should be disciplined.
If lawmakers goofed up, mistakenly enabling predators to exploit some legal loophole, they should promptly fix it.
An investigation should also be held into those who testified in court on behalf of this cunning criminal, including Kelvin and Paula Martinez of Jersey City. They may have perjured themselves or broken the law in other ways.
Similarly, an investigation should be launched into Assembly of God officials including
--Verardo Acosta of Bergenfield, head of Fountain of Salvation Church in Elizabeth,
--Uriel Sanchez of the Trenton area, and
--Arturo Martinez of Elohim Christian Church of Jersey City.
They may have enabled Martinez flee by helping him get a fake passport or in other ways, hindered prosecution or obstructed justice.
No matter what law enforcement or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Assembly of God churches to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
A preacher's flight from justice
By Mark Mueller and Brian Donohue (Additional reporting by Enrique Lavin and Vinessa Erminio)
Estelí, Nicaragua — More than 200 guests sang "Feliz Cumpleaños" — Happy Birthday — to the man they'd come to celebrate in this city's most elegant banquet hall in November. Mariachis strolled the room, serenading the Dominican-born preacher and his friends.
Gregorio Martinez, a self-proclaimed prophet and missionary with ties to the Assemblies of God, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, had but one request of those gathered for his 48th birthday, according to three people who attended.
Martinez had reason for caution. He needed to remain a ghost.
For more than a year now, Martinez has been . . .