COLORADO SPRINGS – Valerie Montoya still can’t believe the man who sexually assaulted her 4-year-old granddaughter, probably won’t go to jail for it.
53-year-old Hector Gonzalez was initially facing a Class 2 felony, and two Class 3 felony charges–when he was arrested for the sexual assault incident back in August.
On Thursday, we learned of a plea deal that reduced his charges to one Class 4 felony, and a misdemeanor.
The DA’s office is recommending a 4 year deferred sentence, and supervised probation. For more information on that story, click here.
“To me, this is not justice. Probation is not justice,” Montoya said, shortly after a plea deal was reached on Thursday.
Many News5 viewers agreed–taking to facebook after our story aired Thursday, asking why a plea deal like this was even allowed.
“I know these prosecutors. They take their job seriously,” said criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor James Newby.
“That’s why I would assume their were factors in this case that went beyond what the public has seen, and led them to do this. Otherwise that would never happen,” he added.
Newby–who is not linked to this case–says a deferred sentence is very unusual for a crime of this nature in El Paso County.
He says it’s likely the DA’s office came up with this plea deal, only after determining either the evidence or witness testimony in this case might not be enough to get a conviction.
“He’ll have probation, he’ll be supervised, he’ll get treatment–and they feel like that’s better than nothing at all. I’m guessing when they looked at the case that they felt ‘there’s not a high likelihood we’re going to succeed if we go to trial.”
The family will have a chance to plead their case at sentencing, where the judge does have the authority to reject the plea deal.
Newby says that’s an uncommon outcome, but not unheard of.
“Before he’s willing to take a plea like this, I’m sure he would require both sides to explain–why is this man getting a deferred sentence on such a horrific crime or horrific accusations?”
“No judge is just going to say, ‘ok, that’s fine, move it along’ and ignore the feelings of the family. They’re going to listen very carefully to the evidence and why the deal’s appropriate,” Newby added.
Sentencing is set for May 8th.