Man to serve probation for conviction in April criminal sexual conduct case
WORTHINGTON — A Worthington man will serve up to five years of supervised probation for a conviction of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Edin Cax Lopez, 21, was arrested in April after signing a birth certificate as the father of a baby whose mother was between the ages of 13 and 15 and closely related to him.
He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, but pleaded down to a conviction of one third-degree offense with the other charges dismissed. He attended his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
At the time of his arrest, Cax Lopez had told law enforcement he didn't understand the reason for his arrest, noting that his sexual contact with the baby's mother had been consensual. He and the victim maintained that stance throughout the court proceedings, and the victim asked the prosecutor, Assistant Nobles County Attorney Roland Henry, to reiterate to the court at the sentencing hearing that she had participated voluntarily.
Fifth Judicial District Judge Darci Bentz sentenced Cax Lopez to 36 months in prison with a stay of execution, meaning that if he abides by all the terms of his probation, he will not be required to serve his prison sentence. However, the felony conviction will go on his criminal record.
As conditions of probation, Cax Lopez is to abstain from drugs and pornography and have no unsupervised contact with minors or vulnerable adults. He must also register as a predatory offender and have no contact with the victim.
Henry asked Bentz to add as a condition that Cax Lopez must abstain from alcohol, but Bentz denied the request on the grounds that there is no evidence that alcohol was a factor in the crime.
According to the plea agreement, Cax Lopez was also to pay $2,565 in restitution to the victim to cover the hospital visit for the birth of the baby. However, court administration noted Tuesday that the victim was no longer claiming that restitution because her insurance had agreed to pay for the expenses. Bentz gave Henry 30 days to confirm whether that is indeed the case.
The Southwest Crisis Center is available in our community to support and empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence. For questions about services or how you can help, contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 800-376-4311 or mnswcc.org .