A Texas magistrate judge set bond at $50,000 for a convicted child sex offender accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy after another judge previously recommended a $1,000,000 bond, according to a Fox News report.
Warning: This Story Contains Distressing Details
“It’s just unconscionable that a judge that took an oath to keep the community safe, to protect children, would do something that would take a known career criminal and violent predator and put him back out in the street,” Justin Berry, Austin Police Department Senior Officer, told Fox News. “It’s just appalling.”
On December 19, a 14-year-old from Shively, Kentucky, went missing after telling family members he was going for a walk, according to the Lexington Herald Ledger.
On December 27, the boy was found in Austin, Texas, after the city’s police department responded to a criminal trespassing complaint “where they reported witnessing Ronald Martin Jr., a convicted sex offender, ‘performing oral sex on what appeared to be a young juvenile male,’” Fox News reports, quoting an affidavit.
As the Austin Police Department investigated the matter, Martin, 48, was taken into custody on an open warrant as he failed to register as a sex offender for previous convictions. He is a lifetime registered sex offender categorized as high risk, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a seven-year-old boy.
Regarding the current allegations, the 14-year-old told police he met Martin on Instagram and stated the 48-year-old convict used the aliases “Kevin” and “Jaden,” Fox News reports.
“The boy told investigators that Martin ‘asked him to send pictures of his penis’ via Instagram, the Telegram app and text message,” Fox News reports.
The teen told authorities that Martin picked him up at a Kentucky church near his residence before the convicted sex offender bought two bus tickets to Austin. “The boy reported that Martin anally and orally sexually assaulted him,” according to Fox News.
Fox News reports:
Following interviews with Martin and the boy, Austin municipal court Judge Patrick McNelis signed a warrant for Martin’s arrest on Dec. 29 for second-degree felony sexual assault of a child. McNelis also signed a recommended bond of $1 million citing, in part, that “the defendant is currently in custody for failure to register as a sex offender.”
The following day, Magistrate Judge Christyne Harris Schultz set a surety bond for Martin at $50,000, which allows for the defendant to post ten percent of the bond, or $5,000 to be released. Harris Schultz did set conditions, “including that Martin wear a GPS monitor and not contact the alleged victim or have unsupervised contact with minors,” according to Fox News.
“Martin remains in jail on a $50,000 bond for the sexual assault charge and $10,000 for his alleged failure to register as a sex offender,” Fox News reports. “His next court hearing on the assault charge is scheduled for Jan. 20.”
Judge Harris Schultz told the outlet via phone call that she did everything to code.
“As a judge, I follow the code of criminal procedure, in every case,” she explained Fox News. “And in determining the amount and the conditions of bail, [I] consider the financial resources and their ability to make bail, and the safety of the community and the alleged victim as well.”
Berry said that low bonds are dismaying to officers.
“One of the officers I’ve talked to involved in this case … is deeply hurt,” he explained. “They spent a lot of time with the victim in this case, and they feel hopeless.”
Berry, a Republican candidate for the Texas State Legislature, indicated the problem rests with Austin’s City Council, which appoints judges. He told Fox News he feels the body has a relaxed attitude toward crime.
Breitbart News previously reported the city council voted to slash $150 million from the city’s police budget in August of 2020.
“The culture has really got to change,” Berry said. “I think [the] city of Austin, our elected officials, really got to stop meddling” and stop giving “woke dictations to our magistrates.”