Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho sent a strong message yesterday to sexual predators who violate their probation: Full maximum jail sentence with no parole.
Camacho revoked the probation of Anthony Peter Rios and slapped him with a 45-year prison sentence.
“This court will remind the defendant and others that the sign at the front of this building states in big letters: House of Justice. Anthony Rios, you will receive justice today. This court will impose the full maximum remainder of the original sentences,” the judge said.
Camacho is known for rejecting lenient plea bargains and imposing full maximum sentences.
At the revocation hearing, the judge found by preponderance of evidence that the 38-year-old Rios violated conditions of his probation and committed two counts of sexual assault in the second degree, two counts of assault and battery, and two counts of disturbing the peace.
One of Rios' victims testified that Rios entered her bedroom as she was asleep and that she woke up to see Rios touching her genitals. The suspect then fled the scene and was later arrested.
She also recounted that when she was just 17 years old, Rios touched her nipple and genitals while teaching her how to swim at a beach.
Assistant attorneys general Chemere K. McField and Shelli Neal also called to the witness stand a staff of Saipan World Resort who testified how terrified she was when she saw Rios watching her showering in the hotel's bathroom on Oct. 28, 2011.
McField had recommended a sentence of 45 years. Assistant public defender Daniel Guidotti, counsel for Rios, recommended 10 to 15 years in prison. Camacho granted the government's recommendation.
In the 1997 rape conviction, Camacho sentenced Rios to the full maximum of 40 years, without the possibility of parole, early release, work release, weekend release, or any other similar program.
In the 2003 conviction for sexual crimes in two cases, Camacho sentenced the defendant to the full maximum of five years.
Camacho said the sentence shall run consecutively with the sentence imposed in the 1997 case, making it a total of 45 years.
“This sentence shall start immediately today!” he said.
Rios was given credit for the 86 days he has already served in jail.
Camacho also reminded Rios that he is still facing possible more jail time in the two new cases that charge him with disturbing the peace and sexual assault in the second degree.
Rios pleaded guilty in 1997 to repeatedly raping and molesting three minors. The record reflects multiple occasions of molestations and forcible rape of the victims over a five-year period.
In that 1997 case, Camacho said the court showed mercy and accepted a plea agreement that sentenced Rios to only five years in prison, with the remaining 40 years suspended.
After serving five years, Rios was freed.
Camacho said that, in 2003 or only five months after being released, Rios was again arrested for sexual crimes and, again, was only sentenced to five years out of 10 years. After serving the second set of five years, Rios was again freed.
Three years after being released, Rios was again arrested for two new incidents: one for entering a public restroom for women and the other for entering a woman's bedroom and fondling her genitals while she was asleep.
“Rios has failed to hold up his end of the two plea bargains requiring him to obey the laws of the CNMI,” Camacho said.
Assistant attorney general McField told Saipan Tribune after the hearing that justice was served and that one sexual predator has been taken off the streets.