Judge denies reduced bail for sex offender suspect

Darrell Todd Maurina

A Clovis man accused of having sexual contact with children failed on Wednesday in an effort to have his bail reduced.
Billy Martin, 49, scratched his head and shuffled paperwork during his Tuesday afternoon video arraignment in Curry County Magistrate Court as he tried to persuade Magistrate Judge Doug Miller to reduce his $100,000 cash-only bond.
“It won’t go any lower?” Martin asked.
“No sir, it will not go any lower,” Miller replied.
Miller told Martin, who’s being held in Curry County’s adult detention center, that he faces 10 counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor under 13 and one count of child abuse.
“All together, you’re looking at a possibility of 33 years in the state penitentiary and a $110,000 fine,” Miller said.
According to the arrest warrant, Martin’s charges stem from a Sept. 17 interview with an 11-year-old girl, one of at least 18 children police say were victims of sex crimes by at least three men.
The girl initially did not allege any sexual contact with Martin. But on Sept. 22, another suspect — Anastacio Esquebel, 21 — was arrested and said he had seen Martin in bed with the 11-year-old girl and that he had seen them touching each other while staying at a house on 700 E. 10th Street. Three other girls made similar claims.
In interviews on Sept. 23 and 24, the girl changed her initial story and said she had been touched inappropriately by Martin, by Esquebel, and by Harry Robbs, 40, an on-and-off resident of the same house. The girl also named other young females who had been touched inappropriately by the three men.
Police have said most of the victims were known by but not related to the adults accused of the crimes. Neighbors said the suspects used toys and candy to lure children to the house.
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey on Wednesday said there have been no new developments in the case but investigators are still looking for Robbs and three other men who so far have not been publicly named. They also expect to find more victims beyond the 18 girls — ages 6 to 13 — who have already been identified.
“We are conscious of the fact that we will probably see more victims,” Carey said. “We’re hoping not to but we probably will.”
Esquebel is being held on $1 million bond.