Child predator's arrest prompts rehabilitation debate - WSMV News 4

Child predator's arrest prompts rehabilitation debate

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Michael Martin (WSMV) Michael Martin (WSMV)

Michael Martin was convicted back in 1989 for molesting a 6-year-old. He was given probation and placed on the sex offender registry.

According to a Metro investigative file, Martin has been downloading child porn for more than a decade and wasn’t caught until recently.

Martin is now facing charges again, this time for possessing what police call "some of the worst and most despicable images known."

They include babies and toddlers as young as 1-year-old being raped and sexually tortured.

"Sex offenders are far more likely to re-offend than any other type of criminal," said Chad Butler, an assistant district attorney in Nashville.

Butler specializes in prosecuting child sex abuse cases. He said every time a child predator gets out of jail, he worries.

"It is a heavy burden, and of course we worry about what's going to happen once that person gets out. Are they going to re-offend? Am I going to see them again? And there's a good chance that I will," Butler said.

Butler said the problem is that rehabilitation doesn't work.

"I would say that it's highly unlikely that someone who commits a sexual offense against a child can be rehabilitated. There's no cure for pedophilia," Butler said.

Psychologist Dr. Donna Moore disagrees. She said she's seen rehabilitation reduce recidivism.

For sex offenders, she uses counseling, monitoring and regular polygraph tests.

"One size does not fit all. We have a lot of variability in the people that commit these crimes," Moore said.

Butler remains adamant. He said unless the law changes, child sex abusers will continue to abuse.

"It is scary and it is worrisome, and the only suggestion I have is maybe talk to your legislature about maybe increasing the penalties for these types of crimes," he said.

News 4 reached out to Martin's attorney who wanted to reiterate that "everybody is innocent until proven guilty and everyone is entitled to their day in court."

Martin is due in court for an arraignment on Aug. 9.

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