NOGALES, AZ (The Nogales International) – Two years after pleading guilty to having had sexual contact with two girls ages 6 and 9, Ignacio Andrade Duarte was sentenced to a total of five years in prison for the offenses.
“This case is old by any standard,” said Judge Thomas Fink, who noted the many delays in the proceedings prior to handing down the sentence Monday at Santa Cruz County Superior Court.
The delays in sentencing began when Andrade fled to California after accepting a plea deal in January 2016, then tried unsuccessfully to back out of the agreement following his capture and extradition back to Nogales. When it looked like he’d finally be sentenced last November, his privately retained lawyer Garrett Wilkes failed to show up for the hearing after twice being granted extensions.
But there was no delaying justice Monday, when Fink rejected another request from Wilkes to continue the sentencing and opted to send Andrade to prison with credit for 664 days already served in jail.
Andrade, 47, was convicted of one count of molestation of a child, a Class 2 felony, and one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor, a Class 4 felony. The judge gave him five years for the first count and 2.5 years for the second, with the sentences to be served concurrently (at the same time).
He also ordered Andrade to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Under the terms of the plea deal, the judge could have sentenced Andrade to a maximum of 12.5 years for the first offense and 3.5 years for the second. Both were also probation eligible – a punishment requested by the defense.
The charges stem from separate incidents involving the two victims on Feb. 15, 2014. Andrade reportedly molested the 9-year-old victim on two occasions that day by touching her on the breast while they were riding in a car – once when they were alone in the vehicle and a second time when the girl’s 12-year-old brother and the unrelated 6-year-old victim were present.
Later, while on a walk, he picked up the 6-year-old girl “and was rubbing her in her genital area,” Deputy County Attorney Kimberley Hunley said Monday.
Andrade pleaded guilty to the charges on Jan. 5, 2016 in a last-minute deal to avoid trial. But despite the nature of the offenses, he was never arrested or ordered to post bond. When he failed to appear for a court-ordered polygraph test and pre-sentence interview, Fink issued a nationwide warrant for his arrest.
He was tracked to Fresno, Calif. and arrested there by members of a U.S. Marshal’s task force following a traffic stop on Feb. 19, 2016.