Felony conviction

Former deputy pleads guilty to sexual conduct in a penal institute

A former Moffat County Sheriff's deputy who was fired for having sex with a female inmate pleaded guilty to the crime Wednesday.

Anthony Gutierrez, 25, pleaded guilty to sexual conduct in a penal institute, a Class 5 felony. Gutierrez was charged with an additional felony after he allegedly tampered with the jail's video surveillance system, which records images from numerous cameras throughout the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

In an agreement with the District Attorney's office, the tampering charge will be dismissed in return for Gutierrez's guilty plea.

The agreement stipulates a probationary sentence with a maximum of 60 days in the county jail. The terms and duration of probation will be left to the court to decide.

Gutierrez will have to register as a sex offender, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite told the court.

District Judge Paul R. McLimans ordered a pre-sentencing investigation report and set Gutierrez's sentencing hearing for March 15.

The sheriff's office received a tip about Gutierrez's conduct Aug. 19, 2003. The sheriff's office conducted an internal investigation and fired Gutierrez a week later.

The sex act occurred in late July 2003, while Gutierrez was on duty at the jail.

The incident was initially reported by Deputy Clint Malvitz, who obtained information from female inmates at the jail.

According to court documents, Gutierrez confessed to the incident during an interview with Ray Birch, an investigator from the 14th Judicial District Attorney's office.

Gutierrez let two female inmates out of their cells, then out of the "pod," which houses numerous cells. He then allowed the two women into the master control room of the jail. Gutierrez engaged in a sex act with one of the inmates, while the other inmate stood nearby.

The inmate who was involved told Birch that the act was consensual.

"I was not forced; you could not force me to do anything," the inmate told Birch.

Birch interviewed Malvitz about the potential consequences of allowing an inmate into the master control room.

Birch wanted to know if Malvitz thought the integrity of the jail was at stake.

According to court documents, Malvitz replied, "Oh, absolutely the safety and security of the jail was totally jeopardized when those two females stepped in there."

The tampering charge arose after Birch discovered that Gutierrez had stopped the video recording machines in the master control room to avoid leaving evidence of the crime. Also, Gutierrez rearranged the order of the jail's videotapes "so that they would be recorded over right away instead of the normal 30-day cycle," court documents indicate.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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