A church elder and former Madera police dispatcher was sentenced Friday to 270 days in Fresno County Jail after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl.
Martin Phillip Ramos, 45, could have faced three years in prison, but Fresno County Superior Court Judge Arlan Harrell took into consideration Ramos’ lack of a criminal history and his level of cooperation with investigators after his arrest.
“That is what’s keeping you out of prison,” Harrell told Ramos.
Ramos pleaded no contest Sept. 20 to one felony count of oral copulation of a person under 18 and one misdemeanor count of child molestation.
As part of Harrell’s sentence, Ramos was given four years felony probation, he must register as a sex offender and have no contact with the victim. If Ramos violates his probation, he will be sent to prison for two years.
Fresno police began investigating Ramos after they received an anonymous tip, leading to his Sept. 2017 arrest.
They learned Ramos met the victim and her family while he was an elder at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the 4000 block of West McKinley Avenue in Fresno.
Ramos mentored the girl, and the two communicated through text messages. At one point, the two exchanged “inappropriate” photos and their relationship turned physical, police said.
During his sentencing, Harrell chastised Ramos for taking advantage of his position of trust and confidence.
Ramos’ attorney D.J. Brickey said his client was extremely remorseful for what he did and the pain it has caused his family and the victim.
Prosecutor Nicole Galstan was pleased with the sentencing, saying Ramos will still spend a significant time in the Fresno County jail, even if it’s not prison.
“Most of all, the victim is happy that this is over,” Galstan said.