A former jail guard will spend 75 days in jail for having sex with an inmate in the master control room of the Moffat County Jail.
Anthony Gutierrez, 25, was sentenced in Moffat County District Court Monday by Judge Paul R. McLimans. He pleaded guilty to sexual conduct in a penal institute, a Class 5 felony.
The sentence was 15 days stiffer than what Gutierrez had agreed to when he pleaded guilty Feb. 4. McLimans rejected the plea agreement struck between Gutierrez' counsel and the District Attorney's office.
"In this case, my view is 75 days is the appropriate amount and I'm going to impose that," McLimans said. "The court has an option to reject the plea and send you folks back to square one."
McLimans offered to send the parties back to the drawing board to renegotiate the settlement, since Gutierrez pleaded guilty on the condition of serving no more than 60 days in jail.
McLimans said he thought Gutierrez got a lenient sentence under the circumstances.
Gutierrez decided to go forward.
The episode at the jail reflected extremely poor judgement and was a betrayal of the public's trust, McLimans said.
It could have led to disastrous consequences, "given where it occurred and the jail control mechanisms that were essentially entrusted to you," McLimans told the defendant.
Gutierrez apologized to the Moffat County Sheriff's Office.
"Everybody had high expectations of me, and I had high expectations of myself," Gutierrez said.
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.
Gutierrez let two female inmates out of their cells and took them into the jail's master control room. He engaged in a sex act with one of the women, according to court documents.
The woman who was involved told investigators that the sex was consensual. Still, Gutierrez will be required to register as a sex offender every year on his birthday, and each time he moves.
He will serve his sentence in the Mesa County Jail.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org