When Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin sang in 1999 about “living la vida loca,” he likely never imagined just how loca his life would one day become. In July 2022, Martin became the subject of a restraining order in his homeland—and the scandalized target of gossips around the world—when his nephew leveled allegations of incest and domestic abuse at him. Now, according to a judicial representative, the case has been archived because “...the petitioner ceased his claims voluntarily.”
The 21-year-old man, who was unnamed at the time due to the nature of the accusation, has since been identified as Martin's nephew, Dennis Yadiel Sanchez. Sanchez filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on July 2, 2022, claiming that Martin had stalked him by loitering outside his home following the dissolution of a seven-month long romantic and sexual relationship.
Immediately, Martin denied both the intimate relationship and the alleged harassment. “The protection order entered against me is based on completely false allegations,” he tweeted on July 3, adding that he would “...respond through the judicial process with the facts and the dignity that characterize me.”
At a hearing on July 21, the same date the TRO was due to expire, Sanchez withdrew his claims, and the case was “archived,” meaning that the singer and “American Crime Story” actor will no longer face any charges.
In Pennsylvania, restraining orders are called “Protection From Abuse” (PFA) orders but are issued on both a temporary and a permanent basis. When the judge grants the temporary or emergency order, they will also schedule a hearing at which the defendant can rebut the accusations. Afterward, the PFA is either dismissed, as in Martin's case, or made permanent.
Both ROs and PFAs have the same intent: to protect petitioners from abuse, harassment, and threats at the hand of another—usually a spouse, romantic partner, family member, or ex. They stipulate that the defendant cannot contact the petitioner in any manner, whether in-person, online, or via telephone or postal mail. Should a PFA order be violated, the defendant will face criminal charges.
Under Puerto Rican law, had he been tried and convicted, Martin could have faced a 50-year sentence for incest on top of whatever penalty the court issued for the charges of domestic violence and PFA violation.
When the Allegations Are False
The laws that concern PFAs and intimate partner violence tend to favor the plaintiff—and for good reason; domestic abuse is a serious crime. However, this system also makes it all-too-easy for a self-identified “victim” to accuse another of abuse or harassment, even when none has occurred. Sometimes this is done sheerly for revenge or retaliation. Other times the motives are more complicated and have to do with custody agreements or financial gain.
No matter the reason, being named in a PFA order can have a devastating impact on one's life. The only recourse, once the order has been issued, is to contact an experienced attorney, like Joseph D. Lento and his expert team at the Lento Law Firm. Should you find yourself in the same predicament as Ricky Martin recently did, give us a call at 888-535-3686 or contact us to tell us about your case and to learn how we can help you fight the accusations and clear your name.
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