LOGAN — A 45-year-old Hyrum man arrested and charged with molesting two young girls has waived his rights to a preliminary hearing and pleaded “not guilty.” Miguel J. Gutierrez-Torres was arrested in January and later allowed to be released on pretrial supervision.
Gutierrez-Torres participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon. He was previously charged with three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony; and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
In December, Cache County sheriff’s deputies were notified of an alleged abuse, after a 16-year-old girl claimed Gutierrez-Torres had touched her inappropriately on multiple occasions. The offenses were disclosed to a family member, who contacted agents at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
The alleged victim reported how Gutierrez-Torres inappropriately touched her breasts multiple times over the years. It reportedly began when she was between 8 and 10-years-old and happened at least 15 times.
As deputies began investigating the allegations, they discovered Gutierrez-Torres was the primary suspect in a similar sex assault investigation, reported three years ago. The case was later closed because the alleged victim was not willing to speak to law enforcement.
Prosecutors reopened the case, leading them to charge Gutierrez-Torres with the second case.
Gutierrez-Torres has denied inappropriately touching the girls. He told investigators that his relationship with the girls was fine.
During Monday’s court appearance, defense attorney Wayne Caldwell said Gutierrez-Torres wished to waive his rights to the preliminary hearing, where a judge would have determined whether or not prosecutors had sufficient evidence to bind the suspect over for trial. He also asked for time to work out a possible plea deal with prosecutors.
Judge Brandon Maynard agreed to allow the waiver. He ordered Gutierrez-Torres to appear again in court May 24, and continue to have no contact with any minors.
Gutierrez-Torres spoke only briefly, telling the court he understood the rights he was giving up waiving the preliminary hearing. He could face up to life in prison if found guilty.