Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The arraignment of a Greenfield father accused of selling his 14-year-old daughter into marriage for 100 cases of beer and $16,000 has been delayed until Friday. Marcelino de Jesus Martinez’s defense attorney requested postponement until the court can provide a Triqui language interpreter, says Cristina Johnson, Monterey County Deputy District Attorney.
Martinez is charged with two felonies – procuring a child under 16 to engage in a lewd act and aiding and abetting unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor – and a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, Johnson says.
Martinez allegedly arranged his daughter’s marriage to 18-year-old Margarito de Jesus Galindo of Gonzales in exchange for the cash, beer and several cases of meat. Greenfield Police arrested Martinez Sunday after Galindo didn’t pay the dowry and he called police to get his daughter back.
The father, his daughter and Galindo are indigenous Oaxacans, says police Chief Joe Grebmeier. “They didn’t think they were doing anything wrong,” Grebmeier says. “It’s not the case of a father putting his daughter up for sale for a case of beer. This is arranged marriage that is custom where they come from.
Grebmeier adds, however, that he still has to enforce state and federal laws. “The law trumps custom,” he says.
Although Grebmeier wouldn’t comment on the family’s immigration status, he says the Department of Homeland Security and United States Attorney is investigating the matter and immigration authorities will be notified if Martinez is released.
Martinez could face a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months if convicted, Johnson says.