PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A convicted felon is back behind bars after a months-long investigation into a series of sexual assault cases, according to Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin.
Lapatin said Juan Martinez, 55, was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault.
Martinez, according to Lapatin, was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in 1999 and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
He was released from prison in March 2020, and Lapatin said the investigation began when one of his alleged victims came forward last October.
Detectives believe Martinez, who also went by the name Carlos, is responsible for at least five sexual assaults in Providence since his release.
“It took us awhile to put everything together,” Lapatin said. “We were pursuing him in just one [case] … then when things start to come in, DNA tests, you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
It’s unclear at this time why Martinez was released from prison, but Lapatin said they’re looking into it.
In at least three instances, Martinez lured his victims to his Union Avenue apartment through advertisements requesting cleaning services, according to Lapatin. He then attacked the women once they were inside.
“We believe that he targeted undocumented females so he could hold that over their heads and threaten them with calling police,” Lapatin added.
Lapatin called Martinez a “super predator.”
He said right now, detectives only know of sexual assaults involving Martinez that occurred in Providence, though he did not rule out any potential connections to cases in other communities.
Detectives are urging anyone who believes they were a victim of Martinez to come forward as the investigation continues.
“It will be dealt with the most secrecy we can afford,” Lapatin said. “He is off the street.”