Man charged with sexual abuse sentenced to 4 to 16 years in prison, then deportation


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Fernando Lopez-Susano after his sentencing Monday. | Natalia Hepworth,

REXBURG — A man who sexually abused a child was convicted and sentenced to prison Monday.

Fernando Lopez-Susano, 46, will serve a unified sentence of 16 years in prison with four years fixed and 12 years indeterminate for sexually abusing a minor under 16.

Police arrested Lopez-Susano in August 2016. Madison County prosecutors charged him with felony lewd conduct with a child under 16 and felony sexual abuse of a child under 16.

Lopez-Susano must pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to the victim and an additional $375 toward the victim’s relief fund. He is to pay full restitution in an amount to be determined later. Lopez-Susano will be deported to back to Mexico once he has served his time in the State of Idaho as he entered the country illegally and is subject to an immigration hold.

“While you’ve been in this country you haven’t had a lot of respect for our laws,” Moeller said.

Documents: Girl sexually abused in back of car

Moeller said he can’t let Lopez-Susano leave the country until he pays for his crime and receives treatment to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I have a job to protect society and I want to ensure that you don’t molest any more little girls whether they are in Mexico or in Idaho,” Moeller said.

The judge recognized that some might suggest that he simply have Lopez-Susano deported rather than being incarcerated at taxpayers expense.

He said if Lopez-Susano was just deported without fully paying for his crime and receiving treatment, there would be nothing to stop him from immediately abusing little girls in Mexico or later returning illegally to Idaho and abusing more girls here.

Lopez-Susano’s case did not go to jury trial, instead, he entered an Alford plea deal February 2017 after originally pleading not guilty. An Alford plea is where the defendant does not admit guilt, but admits that there is enough evidence that a jury could convict them.

Lopez-Susano’s public defender Jay Kohler recommended the defendant served a minimum of two years with a maximum of 5 years in prison.

He said while the Lopez-Susano has been in the Madison County Jail he’s been seeking out religion and working through an addiction recovery program.

“This man is treatable, he’s not a sexual deviant outside of these accusations of course,” Kohler said. “His past employer speaks highly of him.”

Fernando Lopez-Susano in court Sept. 2016 | file photo

The prosecution recommended he serve a one-year minimum with an 18-year maximum while the court retains jurisdiction.

“The defendant can’t bring himself to face the reality of what he’s done,” Madison County Prosecutor Sid Brown said.

The judge rejected the idea of retaining jurisdiction stating that he believed to defendant belonged in prison.

Lopez-Susano sexually abused a female victim while she was between the ages of 10 and 15 years old. She is now 16. The police were made aware of Lopez-Susano after the victim came forward. Near the end of August 2016, a Madison County detective was asked to respond to a local school for a report of a teenage girl who had been the victim of sexual abuse.

According to documents, the victim “wanted to speak to a detective about an ongoing sexual crime” being committed by a man her mother knew.

The victim told investigators the last time she had was abused was June 2016. She said Lopez-Susano touched her inappropriately while she was lying in bed. According to court documents, he tried to touch the victim under her covers, but she left before he did so.

Documents show he attempted to abuse her periodically over the last five years.

Lopez-Susano was charged in 2008 for a similar crime regarding the victim’s sister. He wasn’t able to stand trial for that crime because he was deported before his trial began and the state dismissed the charges.

Moeller expressed grave concern that the victim’s mother would allow this man to return to her home where he could abuse a second daughter. Moeller also questioned why the mother was not in court before him as well knowing that this man had now abused two of her daughters.