Five men, a woman, indicted in rape of 12-year-old girl last year

A convicted sex offender from Port Allen, who allegedly repeatedly raped his girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter last year and arranged sexual encounters between the girl and other adults, was indicted Wednesday along with five others in the rape of the child.

“This is a horrendous set of allegations,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said after a parish grand jury charged Ivy Edward Martin, 38, with seven counts of aggravated rape and one count of molestation of a juvenile.

Also charged with aggravated rape were Brandon Edwards, 27, and Jerome Jackson, 40, both of Port Allen; Michael Sherbin, 36, and Jessica Carr, 22, both of Baton Rouge; and Arthur Lee Jones, 55, of Baker.

An aggravated rape conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The indictment alleges the girl was raped between June 1 and Nov. 21 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie, who handles sex crimes for Moore’s office, said Martin, Edwards and Clarence Tillman, 60, of Port Allen, have been indicted in West Baton Rouge Parish on sex-related charges stemming from conduct in that parish involving the girl.

The investigation into the alleged rapes began in November after a relative told authorities she believed the girl was possibly pregnant and being forced to have sex with Martin, the boyfriend of the girl’s mother.

Martin told investigators he was “sick and needed help,” but has denied claims he raped the girl on a weekly basis beginning in September, according to court records.

Authorities said Martin warned the girl she would be “made a fool of and no one would believe her” if she reported the sexual assaults.

Martin, booked Nov. 28 on several counts of aggravated rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile, and his five co-defendants remain in custody.

“But for the tedious work of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, these defendants may have escaped arrest and prosecution,” Moore stressed.

In December, deputies issued a summons to the mother of the girl who told investigators the girl was raped numerous times last year. Law enforcement officials did not release the name of the girl’s mother, who was issued a summons for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks has said.

The woman, who was not indicted, told investigators she took her daughter to the hospital for treatment after the girl revealed Martin was having sex with her.

An affidavit says the woman “delayed in contacting law enforcement because the victim changed her statement several times and she began to doubt the victim.”

Since the investigation began, detectives have worked closely with Child Protective Services to ensure the girl’s safety, Hicks said.

Jackson, 754 Burbridge Drive, is accused of having sex with the girl after Martin, 884 N. 11th St., allegedly offered up the girl to Jackson and then watched and masturbated as Jackson had sex with her, according to arrest documents.

Edwards, 358 Tracy Porter St., is accused of having oral sex with the girl in April and May at his Port Allen home, and performing oral sex on her in June in East Baton Rouge Parish and standing as a “look out” as Martin raped the girl, court documents state.

Carr, 3020 Denham St., is accused of performing oral sex on the girl in September while Martin masturbated.

Sherbin, 1704 Cedar Lake Drive., admitted having sex with the girl but claimed he immediately stopped “because he knew it was wrong,” according to an affidavit.

The indictment alleges Jones, 4607 Chapeau Drive, also raped the girl.

Court records show Martin has at least three prior convictions.

He pleaded guilty in 1999 in West Baton Rouge Parish to a reduced charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile amid claims he had impregnated a juvenile family member. He was sentenced to a year in prison on that charge and two years in 2007 after failing to register as a sex offender.

The case has been assigned to state District Judge Tony Marabella.