An Arkansas man facing multiple child sex abuse felonies was ordered to be released from jail and placed on house arrest during his bail hearing in 1st District Court on Wednesday.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck ordered Guillermo Farias, 35, to be released from the Cache County Jail and be placed on an ankle monitor to be monitored by dispatch and county probation services. Farias was ordered no contact with the alleged victim, no travel outside the state and to only to leave home for work. Farias told the court he recently had a local job interview via phone call from the jail and was offered an immediate position pending a negative drug test.
Fonnesbeck said she had “grave concerns” about Farias’ right to a speedy trial. Fonnesbeck also said she was allowing Farias’ house arrest in part because the allegations of the case are over eight years old.
Currently, jury trials in the State of Utah have been suspended due to COVID-19 per an order from Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant. During Farias’ status hearing on Monday, Fonnesbeck said it’s possible the court could stay in its current status for the rest of the calendar year.
Defense attorney Mike McGinnis told the court Farias had no contact with the victim for nearly 10 years and had successfully completed probations in the past. After Farias’ arrest and extradition from Arkansas in April, McGinnis said Farias’ wife relocated to Utah with four children and was currently employed. For McGinnis, holding Farias in jail with no jury trial date in sight is an infringement of his rights.
“There’s a way to do this and protect the community,” McGinnis said, explaining an ankle monitor would and house arrest were viable options.
Cache County Prosecutor Dane Murray told the court there were concerns — due to a lack of community ties and the severity of the charges — of Farias absconding. He requested Farias remain in custody at the jail. However, if a release were to happen, Murray also requested an house arrest and ankle monitor.
Farias has been charged with first-degree rape of a child and three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a child alleged to have happened in 2012.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Farias allegedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old while living in Cache Valley. The alleged victim described to police several instances of abuse, including one incident where they were allegedly given alcohol at Farias’ home, fell asleep or passed out on a couch and awoke to being sexually assaulted by Farias. The assault was halted when a young family member entered the room, police wrote.
During a recorded phone call between Farias and the alleged victim, Farias said he didn’t remember Utah as a result of drug use. During the phone call, the victim asked Farias about the sexual assault and concern over sexually transmitted diseases. Farias said there was no need for concern as he had been tested when he was booked into federal prison. However, Farias has never been incarcerated in a federal or state prison.
Farias was reportedly arrested in Arkansas on March 26 and extradited to Cache Valley. He was booked into the Cache County Jail on April 2 and held on $50,000 bail. Farias pleaded not guilty to the charges on April 27 and a jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for November.
Farias is scheduled to appear for a status hearing on Aug. 31.