JeffCo man sentenced for rape of 12-year-old


RIGBY — A Menan man was sentenced Wednesday for raping a 12-year-old girl in March.

District Judge Alan Stephens sentenced Juan Jesus Ariza-Martinez, 27, to a determinate seven years in prison and 20 years indeterminate, for a total of 27 years.

“I think if I did anything less than that, it would not be appropriate, given the seriousness of the crime,” Stephens said.

Ariza-Martinez took the victim to return a movie and buy her an ice cream treat, and then took her to Annis Butte where he sexually assaulted her multiple times.

“(She) said she was scared and wanted to yell help,” court documents state. “When Juan finished, he threatened (her) that if she told anyone, he would kill her.”

The victim reported the incident and Ariza-Martinez was soon arrested. The victim said during a forensic interview that Ariza-Martinez had molested her twice before she was 6 years old.

He pleaded guilty in August on the condition that the prosecution would not recommend a determinate sentence of more than seven years.

“I’ve looked for mitigating factors in this case, and I just don’t see any mitigating factors,” Stephens said.

Defense Attorney John Stosich said his client likely will be deported after he has served his sentence.

“This is the kind of crime that there are no exceptions for,” Stosich said.

Stosich asked Stephens to give his client probation, given he had already served 286 days in jail and the deportation process could begin.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Paul Butikofer said Ariza-Martinez would not receive treatment outside of prison, and that probation would send the wrong message.

“What the court does here is going to send a message not just to Mr. Martinez, but to others in the community,” Butikofer said.

Ariza-Martinez told the judge he regretted the pain his actions caused the victim and that he wanted to be with his children.

“I’d like to ask forgiveness from my family for what I did,” Ariza-Martinez said.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.