(Houston) — A jury has convicted a City of Houston building inspector for raping a 4-year-old child.
When 62-year-old Daniel Perez Martinez was arrested for the felony charge last year, he posted bail and then hidden cameras from Local 2 Investigates found him back on the job, walking into families’ homes to inspect remodeling projects.
His inspection records show he continued to wear his city identification card as he inspected some homes where children were living, and the City of Houston still has no policy to keep that from happening again.
There is no procedure in place that forces an employee to inform us of a pending legal condition,”
said Public Works & Engineering Department spokesman Alvin Wright. The answer he provided after the jury’s verdict was the same response his department provided after the inspector was found on duty while out of jail on bond last year.
The Department of Public Works and Engineering considers the safety of the general public critically important and we will always take the appropriate administrative action to safeguard the public while not treating employees as if he or she were guilty based on an indictment,”
Wright said. One year ago, he said his department was working with city lawyers to come up with a policy that would allow inspectors and other workers to be removed from dealing with the public when facing serious criminal charges. Now, a full year later, he said,
Discussion and evaluation of policy issues continue at this time.”
Jurors found him guilty of an enhanced felony charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. He could get 25-years to life in prison for assaulting the young relative, after kissing her and waking her up in her bed.
The same jury will begin hearing evidence on Monday to decide his punishment.
His defense lawyers will try to persuade jurors that he’s a good guy, deserving of the lightest possible prison sentence. Prosecutors say they plan to push for a hefty prison term, referring to the hidden camera report that showed him inspecting homes with children despite being required to stay away from kids as a condition of his bail.
Houston Police and the Houston Fire Department require employees to notify supervisors when they are arrested, even for minor offenses.
In Martinez’ case, the city didn’t remove him from inspection duties until the hidden camera report surfaced on television. He remained on desk duty, earning his $48,000 annual salary until his trial.
The judge ordered Martinez into custody immediately when the jury returned its verdict.
For more info: Local 2 Investigates hidden cameras catch inspector on the job