Prosecutors drop sex abuse case following court ruling

April 23, 2021 GMT

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped the case against a Williston man convicted of sexual abuse after the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

The Williston Herald reported Friday that prosecutors in Williams County have dropped charges against 44-year-old Juan Antonio Martinez. Martinez was convicted in February 2019 of sexually assaulting a girl multiple times in 2017.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. But the state Supreme Court in March ordered a new trial after Martinez’s attorneys argued the courtroom was closed twice during his initial trial, violating his right to a public trial.

Prosecutors wrote in an April 16 motion seeking to dismiss the case that the girl wouldn’t be available to testify and her family was concerned about another trial.