Bar Nunn Man Sentenced To Prison For Sexually Assaulting Girl
Testimonies from friends and emotional appeals from defendant Benjamin Marquez and his attorney did not dissuade a judge from handing down a five- to 10-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a girl who was baby-sitting his child.
"I'm struck by the individual not spoken of ... the victim," Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking said Friday.
During the nearly hour-long hearing, defense attorney Rich Jamieson called four of Marquez's friends to testify to his character and love of his family.
One witness said, "I was floored," when he heard of the sexual assault charges filed against Marquez.
Marquez is a good family man and has a lot of support from his friends and co-workers despite being laid off from his job at Baker Hughes. He also took responsibility for pleading no contest to a felony and recognizing he will be a registered sex offender, Jamieson said.
Jamieson asked for a sentence of 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation. After four professional evaluations, he said Marquez was deemed a low-risk offender but had a problem when he drank.
Marquez spoke in his own defense saying his young daughter needs him, and he wants to prove prosecutors wrong about the kind of man he is.
But Wilking said she agreed with Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson who said the approximately 16-year-old victim came from a troubled family, how Marquez was attracted to her, and how he planned to put her in a room, give her alcohol and sexually assault her.
On New Year's Eve, he violated his bond by driving under the influence with a child in the car, Wilking said.
And Marquez, Jamieson and four witnesses he called to testify on Marquez's behalf said little if anything about the girl, who will live with the consequences for the rest of her life, Wilking said.
"In the interest of justice, I find (the need) for a prison sentence, she said.
The case started in mid-December 2015 when the victim was babysitting Marquez’ infant child, according to court documents.
Marquez returned home with some friends after a party. Entered a bedroom where the girl was sleeping and assaulted her.
When interviewed, Marquez recalled blowing up an air mattress for the victim, but blacked out after that and remembered nothing else.
In September, he pleaded no contest to one count of third degree sexual abuse of a minor. In exchange for the plea, Johnson agreed to dismiss a count of first-degree sexual assault at his sentencing.