Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Rules on Our Lady of Peace Pretrial Motions

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An Albemarle County Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday on all pretrial motions in a civil lawsuit stemming from a 2013 rape that happened in a nursing home.

The civil case comes after Martin Matthews Martin, a former employee of Our Lady of Peace in Albemarle County, was convicted back in 2015 of raping 85-year-old Gertrude Austin.

Austin has since passed away but the plaintiff representing her was in court Friday, July 28. The plaintiff claims Our Lady of Peace is at fault with several counts of negligence.

In the $2.3 million civil case against Our Lady of Peace and Martin, the nursing home made a motion to exclude usage of the term rape in trial. That motion was denied.

Our Lady of Peace also filed a motion asking that the depositions of Martin's former coworkers describing other previous bad acts committed by Martin be excluded from trial. That motion was also denied

In Martin's 2014 criminal trial, he entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but was sentenced as if he had pleaded guilty.

Our Lady of Peace filed a motion petitioning the judge to exclude this plea from the civil trial. The judge ruled that Martin's Alford plea is not an admission of guilt from the nursing home and that it cannot be used in this trial against Our Lady of Peace, but it can be used against Martin.

This civil case is expected to be tried by a jury starting August 22.

Martin is currently serving a 22 year sentence from the criminal conviction.

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