WORTHINGTON — A local man will serve county jail time and pay a fine in relation to a criminal case in which he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor younger than age 13.
Florentino Guzman Ramirez, 53, of Worthington, was arrested in December 2018 after a minor said that he had sexually assaulted them. He was charged with felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct, but eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a gross misdemeanor. He received his sentence Monday.
The pre-sentence investigation done by Nobles County Probation recommended three years of supervised probation with no jail time, and both sides of the case disagreed with that assessment.
Prosecutor Braden Hoefert said that Guzman Ramirez should have to serve some time in jail. Although there is a big difference between the offense that the victim accused Guzman Ramirez of and the offense to which he actually admitted, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct is still a serious crime, Hoefert said, and the sentence should act as deterrent.
"The question is, 'What is the appropriate sentence for a grown man, such as the defendant, who touches a [age redacted] with sexual or aggressive intent?'" Hoefert said. He recommended a jail sentence of 30 to 45 days.
Guzman Ramirez's attorney, on the other hand, asked the court to reduce the probation length to two years and also not require any jail time. She explained that Guzman Ramirez has been cooperative throughout the court proceedings, has obeyed his release conditions and has continued positive family relationships and social activities.
Guzman Ramirez took the opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing.
"I'm very sorry for everything that happened, and I pray to God that nothing like this ever happens again," he said.
Fifth Judicial District Judge Terry Vajgrt sentenced Guzman Ramirez to two years of supervised probation, plus 365 days in jail, with 335 days stayed, meaning he will have to serve 30 days as long as he abides by the terms of his probation for the entire two years. He also received credit for three days previously served.
Vajgrt stated that he will allow Guzman Ramirez to get out on work release, as long as Nobles County Jail is comfortable offering that option during COVID. As part of his probation, Guzman Ramirez is to have no contact with the victim, the victim's immediate family or minors, with the exception of the minor family members who live with him.
He was also ordered to pay a $700 fine.