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Contreras avoids prison for child abuse charge

Posted: Thursday, Feb 14th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — A former Boys and Girls Club employee who had inappropriate contact last summer with a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Tuesday to six years of supervised probation, plus 90 days in jail.

Twelfth Judicial District Judge Michael Gonzales also ordered Juan Contreras to refrain from having any contact with the victim and any child under the age of 18 — including his own — until probation officials say otherwise.

Prosecutors initially charged the 25-year-old man with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, as well as a nearly identical second count. But after Contreras pleaded guilty last November to a new charge of child abuse with negligence causing bodily injury, they dismissed the original counts.

The case against Contreras goes back to July 9 of last year, when the executive director of the local Boys and Girls Club reported that a girl had been sexually assaulted.

According to an affidavit and application for an arrest warrant, the victim told police that Contreras kissed her on the lips twice. On one previous occasion, she said, Contreras inappropriately touched her rear end.

Contreras later called the victim to tell her he was sorry, and insisted that he was going to quit his job because of what happened. His wife also called the girl and told her to contact the police in order to prevent it from happening again, according to court records.

Contreras took full responsibility for his actions in a Jan. 10 letter to Judge Gonzales, in which he repeatedly apologized for the hurt that he caused.

“I realized that I’ve made a great mistake in my life that affected many people around me,” he wrote. “This includes the community, my close friends, my family who lives in California, my parents, my wife, and most especially a minor.”

Since he was released on an earlier bond, Contreras wrote that he’s had an opportunity to turn his life around completely.

It was hard for him to regain employment, he said, but he did find a part-time job. He’s also a full-time university student who plans to major in chemistry.

Eventually, he said, he hopes to become a pharmacist, and to become a role model for his 2-year-old son and his still-unborn child.

But right now, he said he’s working to rebuild his life from the bottom up.

He told the judge that he’s been blessed with an opportunity to show the community, friends, family members and others that he is a “new creation” — a responsible friend, son, father and husband.

Ultimately, Contreras will still have to make amends for the crime he committed.

In addition to the jail time and probation, he must pay more than $8,578 in mandatory costs and fees, obtain treatment at his own expense and pay for the victim’s counseling, if she chooses to attend. Under the terms of his sentence, he must also comply with the annual sexual offender registry.

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