Former pastor sentenced in child sexual abuse case
Last Thursday, the 7th District Court sentenced the former pastor of a Helper church charged with sexually victimizing children to nine terms in the Utah State Prison.
The 32-year-old defendant, Rene Anthony Gomez, appeared in the custody of the Carbon County Sheriff's Office at the Nov. 5 sentencing phase in the felony level criminal complaint.
On Sept. 3, Gomez waived the right to trial in the felony level criminal case and the former pastor pleaded guilty to nine separate first degree felony level counts - eight sodomy on a child charges and one aggravated sexual abuse of a child offense.
In exchange for the nine guilty pleas, the court granted a joint prosecution-defense motion and dismissed the 11 remaining first degree counts contained in the complaint filed against Gomez.
Presiding on the district court bench at the Nov. 5 criminal proceeding in the child sexual abuse complaint, Judge Bryce K. Bryner sentenced Gomez to eight concurrent 10-year to life and one consecutive five-year to life terms in the state prison.
The court ordered immediate execution of the indeterminate incarceration periods and remanded the defendant back into the custody of the Carbon County Sheriff's Office for transport to the state correctional facility for imprisonment.
Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate acted on behalf of the state prosecutor's office during the court hearing and public defender David Allred represented the East Carbon resident at the Nov. 5 criminal proceeding
Local law enforcement authorities arrested the former pastor on June 28 and, at Gomez' initial court appearance on July 26, Judge Bryner ordered the defendant detained at the county jail without bail.
On Aug. 7, the East Carbon resident waived the right to a preliminary hearing in the criminal complaint and the district court bound the former pastor over to answer the 20 first degree counts at felony arraignment in the case.
Dated July 23, the original felony level criminal information filed against the defendant contended that Gomez committed the first degree offenses against multiple young victims from October 2000 through June 2002.
The formal criminal complaint charged Gomez with eight first degree aggravated sexual abuse of a child counts along with 12 sodomy on a child felony level offenses.
The felony level criminal case identified the alleged victims as children younger than the age of 14 years old when the incidents purportedly occurred.
In connection with the aggravated abuse charges, the criminal information argued that the defendant occupied a position of special trust when the former pastor allegedly took indecent liberties not amounting to rape or caused the children to engage in acts designed to arouse or gratify sexual desires.
Due to the fact that the aggravated sexual abuse and sodomy charges involved several minors, the felony level complaint identified the alleged victims by initials rather than listing the names of the children.