Trial vacated after man pleads guilty to attempted lewdness
The first person indicted by the Douglas County grand jury entered a guilty plea on Thursday, averting a three-week trial.
Juan Gabriel Ramirez-Vargas, 47, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted lewdness with a child under the age of 16.
According to the plea agreement, Ramirez-Vargas is not admitting he behaved lewdly with the child but said through an interpreter that the possibility of being convicted on far more severe charges influenced his decision.
“That was the most important reason,” he told District Judge Tod Young through an interpreter.
The grand jury indicted Ramirez-Vargas on charges of sexual assault and lewdness, which if convicted would result in a life sentence with a possibility of parole after 35 years.
A jury trial was scheduled for Feb. 10.
As a result of the guilty plea, Ramirez-Vargas faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, if the sentences are concurrent. He could also be fined up to $20,000.
Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said the age of the case and the unwillingness of the victim, who was 7 in 2016, to testify contributed to the decision to enter a plea agreement.
He is eligible for probation if a psychosexual evaluation determines he is not a risk to reoffend.
Ramirez-Vargas is not a citizen and currently has an immigration hold in addition to the charges he is facing.
His sentencing was scheduled for July 6.