A former Howard County police sergeant yesterday was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old college student in his cruiser last summer.
Thomas M. Martin, 40, a 16-year veteran of the police force, was allowed to remain free on a $50,000 bond while he appeals his conviction.
Judge James B. Dudley, who found Martin guilty on Dec. 9 of
second-degree sexual assault, imposed the minimum sentence allowed under state guidelines. He issued concurrent terms for Martin's convictions on two other sexual assault charges and assault and battery offenses.
The victim, a college student from Silver Spring, testified in a weeklong trial that Martin picked her up as she staggered drunkenly along a road in Columbia and twice drove to secluded areas and sexually assaulted her with a flashlight.
Prosecutor Eileen McInerney
asked the judge to impose a prison term of at least nine years, saying Martin's crime was made worse because he violated his oath of office to protect the public.
But defense attorney Timothy J. McCrone called six character witnesses who described Martin as a hard-working police officer, loyal friend and devoted husband.
"He's always been a very excellent husband, and he's my best friend," his wife, Joyce Martin, said as she broke into tears.
Mrs. Martin, a second-grade teacher, said she and her husband remain committed to each other, although the incident caused stress and strain in their relationship.
Judge Dudley said that although Martin showed no remorse for his actions, he deserved to receive credit for his past record.