South Ogden man sentenced to possible 30 years for sexually abusing a child

Thursday , June 15, 2017 - 8:26 PM

NADIA PFLAUM, Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN — A South Ogden man could serve up to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a 5-year-old in 2013 after his sentencing Thursday. 

Guillermo Garcia, 46, pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual abuse of a child and five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies, on April 27, after accepting a plea deal from the state.

Prior to his sentencing on Thursday, June 15, 2nd District Judge Joseph Bean asked Garcia if he had anything to say. 

He answered in Spanish, through an interpreter, “No — I’m sorry for everything that happened.”

Bean ordered that two of the sexual abuse of a child sentences, each carrying a maximum of 15 years, will run consecutively. The remaining eight sentences will run concurrently, giving Garcia a possible two to 30 years at the Utah State Prison.

Garcia faced a term of one to 15 years on each of the 10 charges. His defense attorney, Jonathan Hanks, asked the judge to consider running all the sentences at the same time, because when Garcia is released from prison he won’t pose a threat to the community — he will likely be deported.

South Ogden police initially arrested Garcia in August 2015, after a child described being regularly cajoled into performing oral sex on the husband of the child’s babysitter two years prior, according to court documents.

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Police said Garcia and his home matched the victim’s descriptions. When questioned, Garcia initially told police he did not remember any of the children who came to his wife’s babysitting service.

He consented to a search of his phone, which contained images of child pornography, police said, but Garcia denied possessing the material and said he often left his phone unattended, according to court documents.

Trial dates were set several times in this case before Garcia reached an agreement with prosecutors. 

Hanks said during Thursday’s sentencing that while Garcia pleaded guilty to all 10 charges, the five counts of sexual abuse of a child were entered as Alford pleas. An Alford plea allows an accused person to maintain his or her innocence while acknowledging that a trial on the charges would likely result in conviction. 

Weber County prosecutor Rachel Snow argued that Garcia’s conduct was “very, very egregious,” and that by entering Alford pleas, he avoided taking responsibility for his actions. 

The damaging trauma the crimes caused the victim, now 9 years old, were read for the court via a letter from the child’s adoptive mother.

The child had “screamed, cried, run away, and begged not to go to that babysitter’s on Saturdays,” the letter read. By arresting Garcia, “They found the man, the right man.”

Upon periodic review, the state board of probation and parole will ultimately decide how long Garcia spends behind bars.

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