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Latino activist Tony Yapias sentenced to 15 days in jail

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- A once-prominent Latino community activist was sentenced to 15 days in prison Monday.

Two years ago Tony Yapias was charged with rape, but back in August the Davis County Attorney told the judge they couldn’t prove the rape beyond a reasonable doubt and Yapias agreed to a plea deal.

He pleaded guilty to two lesser charges in exchange for prosecutors dropping the rape charge.

He was supposed to be sentenced for tampering with evidence and tampering with a witness back in October, but an investigation by the State Bar found evidence.

He attorney was disbarred in July for ineffective counsel, in at least 20 of his past clients.

On Monday Yapis and his attorney requested no jail time.  A report from the Adult, Probationa and Parole, which compiles a pre-sentence report for the judge, also recommended Yapias not serve any jail time.  Yapias addressed the judge prior to sentencing.  

“I just want to appreciate the judicial system and process for as long as this case has played out in the public for almost three years,” he said.  “Despite all the faults and difficulties, I still have confidence in our judicial system and how it works. I feel like we have received a fair resolution to this very difficult situation and I hope both sides can heal from it and we can move forward.”

But the victim did not feel this was a fair resolution.  The judge did not allow her name released.  But the woman told the judge she was unhappy with the result and she maintained that she was sexually assaulted.  

“I felt terrified,” the woman said.  “I thought he was going to beat me. I let him do whatever he wanted me to do.”

Judge Randall Skanchy said he would not sentence Yapias based on the unproven rape allegations.  He said that he was concerned with the charges he pleaded guilty to.

“The issues associated with the unlawful detention and tampering are disturbing to the court,” said Judge Skanchy.

He suspended the year in jail but ordered Yapias serve 15-days in jail.  Yapias will report to jail after the holidays on Dec. 27th.

“I think the judge decided that that would be a fair sentence for what happened and I take responsibility for that,” Yapias said to reporters following the sentencing.  “And I’m going to take that as an opportunity to learn about our system like I have over the last couple of years.”

But following the sentencing, ABC4 News spoke with the victim who was not happy with the outcome.

“I think it was not fair,” she said.  “I expected him to be in jail for a long time.  This was not right. It was a sexual assault.  For me it was a sexual assault.  But I can’t keep on fighting this.  I can’t fight this any longer.”

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