Whatcom County man sentenced for having pornography of minors high on meth

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 27, 2013 

A 72-year-old man convicted of sexually exploiting teenagers - getting them high on meth so they would make homemade porn - must serve six years and three months in prison.

Gerald Micheal Martin ran Freeway Storage, 7080 Portal Way, until his arrest in 2012. He lived in a house there, free of rent. Because of his age, he had a hard time staying up to watch security cameras, so he smoked methamphetamine two or three nights a week.

He let boys live with him. One of the victims, then 17, met Martin in December 2011 through an old friend. Martin walked out of his bedroom with a meth pipe and offered to let the teens take a hit.

The newcomer stayed at the home for a month. At one point, Martin asked if he could tape him having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. The boy - high on drugs that Martin gave him - said yes.

Around Christmas Day the boy woke up feeling sick. He'd been throwing up the night before. Martin came over to the couch, pulled down the boy's pants and performed oral sex on him, according to the charges.

"He said that he wanted to tell Martin to stop," wrote Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Sawyer, "but he was afraid to say anything and just felt paralyzed, not knowing what to do."

Sheriff's deputies launched an investigation in February, when the boy reported what had happened. In Martin's room, deputies found a safe with a 9mm pistol, drugs and a digital video camera.

Charging papers describe four videos showing the teens engaged in sex acts, including one where they pause to smoke drugs.

"Ten minutes did not go by without us smoking methamphetamine," the girl later told a detective.

Martin pleaded guilty in October to sexual exploitation of a minor, first-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, maintaining a drug house and delivery of meth. A second-degree rape charge was dropped in a plea bargain.

State law requires sex offenders to undergo an evaluation before sentencing. Court records reflect Martin spoke openly about his past: He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1960, built motor homes and worked in home improvement stores, got married but divorced quickly in the '80s, and had a long-term romantic relationship with a man, who died in 2001.

But Martin denied sexual contact "with minors under the age of sixteen." The evaluator clarified that minors were 18 or younger. There was one, Martin confessed, but he claimed it was consensual.

As for the homemade child porn, he claimed "the three juveniles put the videos on his computer and he wanted to get rid of them." He knew they'd been doing it. He maintained he didn't force them.

Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder approved the sentence last week. Martin had no felonies on his record.

The name of the business Martin worked for was updated Dec. 30, 2013.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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