Don Martin
Photo: Fulton County District Attorney's Office
Photo: Fulton County District Attorney's Office

Atlanta minister fled court before being convicted of raping, molesting girl for 6 years

An Atlanta minister left the Fulton County courthouse Tuesday before he was convicted of rape and child molestation, authorities said.

Don Martin, 45, was accused of sexually assaulting a girl when she was 7 years old until she was 13, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

After five days of testimony, Martin left and didn’t return to court for closing arguments and his guilty conviction, the release said. His whereabouts are unknown.

He was found guilty of rape, aggravated sexual battery, child molestation and first-degree child cruelty, the release said.

On Aug. 17, 2011, Atlanta police investigated a sexual battery call involving Martin after he was accused of repeatedly inappropriately touching a young girl in College Park and Atlanta, the release said. 

The victim said it had happened since 2005 when she was 7, the release said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Her legal guardian told police she was friends with Martin and met him at the Atlanta church where he was a minister, the release said. The guardian said Martin would often visit her home, stay overnight and would sleep downstairs, while the girl slept upstairs. She wasn’t aware of any sexual abuse.

The case was briefly closed in 2011 when the victim didn’t attend a forensic interview and Martin provided an alibi, but the case was reopened in 2014 when the legal guardian contacted police to report the sexual abuse was repeated, the release said.

The victim was forensically interviewed and said Martin touched her inappropriately over that six-year period, including raping her once in her bedroom, the release said. Both her little brother and her legal guardian were in the home where some of the alleged sexual assaults occurred, the release said.

In another interview, she said Martin molested her more than 30 times between 2005 and 2011, including on her 12th birthday, the release said. Martin was eventually arrested in 2014.

He was released on a $15,000 bond that required him to wear an ankle monitor and was indicted in 2015, the release said.

However, in 2017, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge altered his bond conditions, allowing him to remove the ankle monitor, the release said.

His sentencing has been postponed because the victim said she’d like to face Martin during the hearing, the release said.

In other news: