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Man to be deported after pleading guilty to sex abuse charge

Crime Watch

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Asuncion Fernando Garcia-Tapia | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A man will be deported from the United States after a judge sentenced him on a charge stemming from the sexual abuse of a child.

Asuncion Fernando Garcia-Tapia, 53, pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child and District Judge Joel Tingey placed him on six years of felony probation. As part of an Alford plea agreement, prosecutors amended a felony lewd conduct charge to the injury to a child charge.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea where a defendant continues to assert their innocence but admits a jury would likely find them guilty with the evidence presented.

Federal court records show Garcia-Tapia lived in the United States illegally after being deported following a 2010 arrest in El Paso, Texas. Court records show that after his 2019 arrest in Idaho, immigration officials determined Garcia-Tapia lived here illegally.

RELATED | Man arrested for allegedly abusing 9-year-old girl years ago

Garcia-Tapia pleaded guilty to the federal immigration charge and will be sent back to his home country of Mexico, according to court records.

The victim came forward in 2019 after seeing Garcia-Tapia at her birthday party. The now teenager told investigators that Garcia-Tapia sexually abused her repeatedly when she was nine years old, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Documents say investigators tried to set up a time to meet with Garcia but were only able to speak with him over the phone. He told them his attorney advised him not to speak to law enforcement and asked why the allegations were being brought up six years after they allegedly happened.

Investigators told Garcia-Tapia that it is not uncommon for victims not to come forward right away.

In addition to probation, Tingey gave Garcia-Tapia an underlying three to 10-year prison sentence. If Garcia-Tapia returns to the US after his deportation, he could be ordered to serve that time and face additional charges from the federal government.

Tingey also ordered Garcia-Tapia to pay $1,245.50 in fees and fines, court records show.

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