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Minnesota corrections worker accused of sexual coercion remains on leave

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — A crew leader for a Sentencing to Service program remains on administrative leave after accusations he coerced a female inmate to have sex in exchange for special privileges.

Michael John Martin, 47, of Wood Lake, faces three felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct — force or coercion, and three felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct — a correctional employee. He appeared on the charges in Yellow Medicine County District Court last week and has since posted bail.

Martin is an employee with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who supervised Yellow Medicine County prisoners while they were doing community service work.

An information officer with the Department of Corrections said Tuesday, June 27, that Martin is currently on administrative leave.

According to the complaint filed against him, from August of 2016 through May of 2017, Martin asked a female prisoner to perform oral sex on him or have intercourse with him on several occasions.

The woman was an inmate at the Yellow Medicine County Jail for several short stints during that 10-month period and was under the supervision of Martin when working in the community on a Sentencing to Service crew.

The woman entered treatment May 30 at Project Turnabout, and when she told a counselor about being asked to perform sex on a corrections employee while incarcerated, the counselor informed law enforcement.

The complaint said Martin would get the woman alone and ask for sex.

Sometimes those acts were rewarded with special privileges not given to other prisoners, including cigarettes and pop.

According to the court documents:

Martin allegedly took the woman to see her kids for short visits at her house but said it would "cost her," which meant demands to perform sexual acts.

On at least one occasion, the woman said the act took place in the Sentencing to Service van.

The woman told police that Martin warned her not to tell anyone about their sexual relationship because she would get in trouble and that he was a person with power and "knew people."

The woman said she was afraid that if she did not do what Martin wanted that she would get into trouble at the jail or not be taken to see her kids.

During a June 3 interview with a sheriff's deputy, Martin allegedly said the woman had performed oral sex on him three times, all in April of 2017, while she was working on the Sentencing to Service crew with him.

Martin denied having sexual intercourse with her or taking her to see her children but allegedly said he took her to her house to get things.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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