Kent teen pleads not guilty to child molestation charge at Lake Meridian
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
August 28, 2012 · 11:27 AM
An 18-year-old Kent man pleaded not guilty to a first-degree child molestation charge after he allegedly had sexual contact in July with a 9-year-old girl swimming at Lake Meridian Park.
Michael Anthony Martin, a registered sex offender and convicted rapist, entered the plea Aug. 23 in King County Superior Court in Kent. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 6 for a hearing when a trial date could be set or attorneys from either side could ask for more time to prepare the case.
Martin remains in the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent with bail set at $500,000.
Senior deputy prosecutor Cecelia Gregson wrote in the charging papers filed Aug. 8 that Martin "sought out a poorly supervised child at a community park and preyed upon her trusting acceptance of help to learn how to perform swimming tricks."
Martin allegedly approached a 9-year-old girl on July 17, according to charging papers. The girl told a child interview specialist that Martin assisted her during a back flip in the water and during that process poked her and rubbed her with his fingers outside and inside her bathing suit.
The girl then said she told Martin "No." She exited the lake and told a staff member what had occurred. The girl was at the park on a field trip with the Federal Way Boys and Girls Club, according to court documents.
Kent detectives took over the case Aug. 3 and learned that Martin lived near the park. The girl picked Martin out of a photo montage as the man who touched her.
Police arrested Martin for first-degree child molestation on Aug. 6 at his residence. Martin told detectives he recalled the July 17 incident at Lake Meridian Park and admitted to helping the girl do back flips. He denied that he touched the girl inappropriately. He said he placed one hand on the girl's back and one on the back of her leg, although he then changed his story to placing his hand on her stomach.
Martin was convicted as a juvenile in February 2008 of three counts of first-degree child rape in connection with a 2007 case.Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.