Man sentenced in attempted child sex assault crimes | PostIndependent.com

Man sentenced in attempted child sex assault crimes

Tatiana Flowers
tflowers@postindependent.com

A 46-year-old New Castle man convicted of enticement of a child and attempted sexual assault on a child was sentenced Thursday in Glenwood Springs to three years in prison, though most of that time has already been served in the Garfield County Jail since his 2016 arrest.

Ninth Judicial District Judge John Neiley also sentenced Hector Ledezma to 10 years to life on probation for enticement of a child, and ordered an evaluation that would determine if the defendant could have lawful contact with his own children.

Ledezma, who was found guilty by a jury in April, also must register as a sex offender for life, until or unless he wins a petition otherwise. He also must pay court fees, and possibly victim's compensation.

He is sentenced to two years parole and three years in prison for the attempted sex assault on a child crime, but will likely spend a year or less in confinement since he's already served 765 days at the Garfield County Jail, Neiley said.

Good behavior and the opportunity to participate in a community corrections program could lessen Ledezma's sentence, Neiley added.

Ledezma was released to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office after the Thursday hearing and will spend the remainder of his sentence under the Department of Corrections' supervision.

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The defendant has the right to appeal his concurrent sentence within 49 days, Neiley said. The judge added that he read and took into consideration the 25 letters in support of Ledezma from his friends and family.

Sarah Nordgaard, deputy district attorney, asked for maximum punishment up to life in prison, and said the move would show the victims and the community a crime of this nature is unacceptable.

She told Judge Neiley that Ledezma is not a first time offender, and said he was convicted of attempted assault in 2007 and domestic violence on an unspecified date.

She said he was deported because of his criminal activity but returned to the United States and continued to commit crimes. It is unclear if and when he was deported, but Judge Neiley said he would have to comply with immigration policies as part of his sentence.

Nordgaard said, "He was released from supervised probation and committed this crime three days later."

The victims and their families did not appear at the sentencing hearing, Nordgaard said, but she told Neiley they wanted him punished, and they wanted him to receive the help he needs.

Ledezma's attorney, Tim Graves, said he had received far more than 25 letters in support of the defendant. He said 25 would be about a third of the total letters he had received.

"Mr. Ledezma has more support than any other defendant I've ever seen," Graves said. He told Neiley, Ledezma is a "model" inmate, who works as a trustee at the Garfield County Jail.

Both Nordgaard and Graves said the defendant is at low risk to reoffend, and Graves said Ledezma would have the support of his pastor, a probation officer, and his friends and family after prison. He asked the court to impose a minimum sentence as well as treatment so the defendant could soon return home to his family.

During the jury trial in April, prosecutors Ben Sollars and Nordgaard said Ledezma invited two 9-year-old girls into his New Castle-area home on May 17, 2015, and offered $1,000 to the girls if they could find the money. He allegedly said the money was hidden in his home.

Nordgaard said during the trial, Ledezma then separated the girls into different rooms before sexually molesting one of them by touching her breasts and then attempting to sexually assault the other by removing her clothing. Both children were 9 at the time of the incident, and the defendant was 43.

One of the victim's guardians notified law enforcement, and an investigation commenced within two weeks, Nordgaard said.

Ledezma was arrested in May 2016 and was originally charged with four crimes: sex assault on a child, two counts of enticement of a child, and criminal attempt to commit sex assault on a child, but the jury members found him guilty of just two of the counts after closing arguments.

During the jury trial, prosecutors showed pictures of the suspect's home and said the defendant and one of the victims had lived across the street from one another, but it is still unclear if they had interacted previously.

He had remained at Garfield County Jail on $50,000 bond since his arrest in May 2016, and will now serve the remainder of his sentence in the state prison system.