Prosecutors: minister flees before child rape conviction

- Authorities in Fulton County said a former church minister is on the run and was a no-show in court as he was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.

Don Martin, 45, was convicted of rape, aggravated sexual battery, child molestation, and cruelty to children in the first degree.

Prosecutors said the charges stem from on-going abuse of a young girl for six years until 2011 when the girl turned 13. Prosecutors said Martin molested the girl more than 30 times in that period, even sexually assaulting her on her 12th birthday.

Investigators said Martin was a minister in the Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ and met the girl's caretaker through the church.

The church, in a statement, claimed Martin had not regularly attended services since 2009 and was never an ordained minister serving in an official capacity and never worked with youth or children. 

Prosecutors said Martin would stay over at the girl's house overnight; the abuse occurred there, as well as several other locations in the Oakland City neighborhood in Southwest Atlanta, as well as College Park.

In 2011, Atlanta Police were called to a home on Larosa Terrace to interview the teenage victim, who described the abuse to officers. The case was initially closed in 2011 when the victim did not show at a forensic interview and Martin provided an alibi to investigators.

Police reopened the case in 2014 after the legal guardian contacted police again.

Martin was arrested in 2014 on a $15,000 bond and initially was required to wear an ankle monitor following his arrest; he was indicted in 2015, but two years later, a judge removed that condition.

Prosecutors said Martin failed to appear Monday and Tuesday in court. Closing arguments continued without him and the jury found him guilty. The judge postponed sentencing until his capture because the victim would like to face Martin during the sentencing hearing.

Authorities said Martin is originally from the Bahamas.

Investigators do not have information on where he could be hiding out. Anyone with information on his whereabouts or sees him is asked to call 911.

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