Ex-CHAT worker found guilty

Published 11:14 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A former employee of CHAT Academy faces up to a year in jail after being found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Dallas County District Court Judge Bob Armstrong ordered a presentencing report on Susan Martin, 35 , just minutes after finding her guilty of the misdemeanor charge. Sentencing is set for Aug. 3.

“She faces up to a year in jail,” said District Attorney Michael Jackson. “We will know something after the presentencing report is completed.”

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The judge’s decision came minutes after Selma Police Detective Beauty Benjamin testified she discovered video of Martin in a sexual act with a 16-year-old while investigating another complaint.

The Selma Times-Journal does not identify the victims of sex-related crimes.

Benjamin said she spoke to the juvenile and confirmed the identification of the woman in the video. The detective also told the court she had a Facebook text message in which Martin gave her cell phone number to the youth.

Benjamin testified she went to the school and talked to Martin.

“I arrested her on April 16 after showing a preview of the tape,” the detective said. “She did state that she thought he was 18.?

Benjamin, the only witness during the hearing, told the court the cell phone video was analyzed by state computer forensics in Montgomery. The video showed a time of 7:45 a.m., Jan. 6, 2010, on the video, which the detective said lasted about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

During her testimony, Benjamin said the victim appeared to be “ashamed” when questioned about the incident.

The defense argued that Martin could not have contributed to a delinquent act because the victim attended school shortly after the sexual encounter. The defense produced records showing the victim’s school attendance record.

Truancy is considered delinquent, according to state law.

However, the prosecution countered with law saying sexual acts between unmarried people are against the law; it is known as sexual misconduct.