KINGMAN – Attorneys requested opposite ends of the spectrum of punishment for a sex offender and a local judge balked at a sentencing decision for lack of input from the victim or her family in the case. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen declined to impose sentence during a Dec. 4 hearing, and he continued the matter until the new year.
The delay arises in the case against Silvestre Gonzalez who had sex with a 14-year-old girl in Ft. Mohave in March. The 30-year-old defendant pleaded guilty in early Nov. to a charge reduced to attempted sexual conduct with a minor in a deal allowing the Court to order as little as probation, or up to as many as 15 years in prison.
Defense attorney Elana Sears argued strenuously for leniency, citing support among family and friends. She said Gonzalez had never before been in trouble, lacked any criminal history and that his transgression was an aberration that would not be repeated.
“This was a horrible ‘one-off’ for him, a horrible mistake. He’s never going to be in this situation again,” Sears said. “He is coming forward and taking responsibility.”
Gonzalez offered apology to the victim and her family. “I feel great remorse for what I’ve done.”
Prosecutor Bob Moon questioned whether Gonzalez is remorseful for his conduct or for the prospect of possibly going to prison for roughly half as long as he’s been alive.
“This is the case where if you’re the parents of the daughter, it makes your blood boil,” Moon said. Authorities have said that a social media courtship of sorts led to Gonzalez having sex with the just-turned-14 girl outside her home in his parked vehicle.
“She thought she was in love. She thought they were going to be together forever. This was a predatory crime,” Moon said, noting the victim is traumatized. “She’s in a bad place now She is self-harming. She can’t believe she was duped.”
Sears said this was the first time she heard that the victim was devastated.
Moon said the victim’s father has prevented her participation in legal proceedings to protect her from further drama and trauma.
Judge Jantzen said he needs to know more to impose sentence responsibly. “I need to hear from the victim before I make a decision.”
Sentencing was rescheduled Jan. 19.