Beaufort News

Bluffton man charged with sexual assault

Ricardo Alonso Martinez
Ricardo Alonso Martinez

A 29-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault after police were called to a business on Sheridan Park Circle where the man had locked himself inside with a woman.

A female caller asked police Saturday to check on a woman who had asked her for a ride because she had been drinking, according to a Bluffton Police Department report.

When the caller arrived to pick up the woman outside of a roofing company office at 39 Sheridan Park Circle, Suite 9, a witness told her Ricardo Alonso Martinez of Bluffton had taken the woman inside the business and locked the door. The caller told police she could not reach the woman by cellphone and that Martinez refused to open the door of the business, which was closed at the time.

Authorities arrived at about 6 p.m. and also knocked on the door several times. Shortly afterward, Martinez left the building and was quickly arrested.

The victim was taken to Hilton Head Hospital. An investigation determined that Martinez had sexually assaulted her, Lt. Joe Babkiewicz said.

Martinez has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and is being held for questioning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about his residency status, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center log. All foreign-born inmates are reported to ICE. According to the police report, Martinez was born in Mexico.

Babkiewicz declined to describe the relationship between Martinez and the victim, but said the assault was not "random." He also declined to say what connection, if any, Martinez or the victim has with the business.

Police are also not releasing the age of the victim, saying only that she was over 18.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is defined as sexual battery when the assailant uses force or coercion, or knows that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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