Feds Charge Casper Man With Taking Girl Over State Lines
Casper man James Martin faces a federal charge of transporting a minor over state lines for illegal sexual purposes besides the state charges of child sexual abuse, according to the indictment filed in Wyoming U.S. District Court.
If convicted of the federal charge, Martin faces 10 years to life imprisonment, five years to life supervised release, and a $5,000 assessment under the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Act, according to the federal indictment.
Besides listing the penalties, the FBI affidavit supporting the federal charge contains information not discussed in the state/Natrona County case.
In the state case, Martin on Tuesday appeared for his arraignment before District Court Judge Daniel Forgey and pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor and three felony counts of sexual exploitation of children.
Another felony count -- taking a minor from a guardian -- had been dismissed, Assistant District Attorney Blaine Nelson told Forgey.
That, coupled with Blaine's comment in December that the FBI also was investigating Martin showed separate cases had developed.
Locally, the case started in September 2021 when he became romantically interested in a girl born in 2008, according to court documents.
The guardian reported that Martin is the victim's cousin by marriage, according to the FBI agent's affidavit.
In October 2022, the girl's guardian noticed "weird behavior" between the two, and on Nov. 17 Martin suddenly quit his job and the victim didn't return to class.
The victim's family reported she was missing and probably taken by Martin.
Law enforcement issued an AMBER Alert on Nov. 17, and the two were apprehended the next day in western Arizona. Authorities found the girl was safe and they arrested Martin.
On Dec. 30, Martin was extradited from La Paz County, Arizona, to Natrona County, when and where he heard the charges during his initial appearance in Circuit Court.
Meanwhile, the FBI was building its own case.
On Dec. 27, the federal government filed a criminal complaint with two counts against Martin:
- From Nov. 16-18, he transported a minor "in interstate commerce, with the intent that such individual engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense."
- From Nov. 8-22, he accessed with intent to view "the production of such visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct ...."
On that date, an FBI agent submitted an affidavit for an arrest warrant for Martin.
The agent's affidavit covers much of the same material as that accompanying the charges in Natrona County.
But it goes into greater detail about the exchange of erotic messages, Martin's apprehension in Arizona, and interviews of him and the victim by Arizona-based FBI agents and a child advocate forensic interviewer in Torrington.
After being advised of his rights, Martin told the agents that he picked up the girl near her school and drove her from Wyoming to protect her from physical and emotional abuse from her guardian. Martin told agents he did not report the alleged abuse to police because he was afraid he wouldn't be believed.
He told the agents his relationship with the girl was just friendship. He later neither denied nor admitted that he had sex with her, but it was consensual if they did. "'I'm not a monster like that. I'm in love with her.'"
Martin also understood that possessing videos of underage girls doing sexual acts was illegal.
During her interview, the victim told agents she and Martin spent one night in a hotel, she wanted to get married and thought it was ok to marry him. She also denied having a physical relationship with him.
She returned to Wyoming, and her clothing was turned over to her guardian. Her panties had semen on them, and a Wyoming State Crime Laboratory exam determined that the semen supported a DNA match of Martin.
During her interview with the child advocate forensic interviewer in Torrington, she initially resisted questions because she wanted the FBI to trust him.
She explained how their relationship began, how much she loved him, and their first sexual encounter.
When asked how Martin's semen was on her underwear, the victim smiled and responded, "'that's for me to know and you to find out,'" according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 11, the FBI dropped the child pornography charge and the federal prosecutor asked that the case be sealed.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Skadahl in Casper granted that request.
On Feb. 14, Skavdahl granted the prosecution's request to unseal the case.
There has been no further action on U.S.A. v. James Warren Martin since then, according to federal court records.