May 20--A 57-year-old Tucson man who was accused of sexually abusing three young relatives was sentenced to 17 years in prison Monday.
Alberto Medina-Herrera was indicted on six counts of molestation of a child and four counts of sexual conduct with a minor last year after one of the relatives went to authorities.
Medina-Herrera pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation, but during his sentencing hearing Monday, Assistant Pima County Public Defender Kyle Ipson suggested that his client is innocent.
Ipson told Pima County Superior Court Judge Nanette Warner that a psychological/sexual evaluation shows his client doesn't fit the profile of a sexual offender.
Moreover, Medina-Herrera passed a polygraph examination, Ipson said.
The defense attorney suggested that those facts call for a mitigated sentence, as does his client's ill health and his pending deportation.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Bunkye Chi noted that Medina-Herrera pleaded guilty to the charge while under oath; she asked for a harsh sentence.
Warner told Ipson she could not conceive of a reason for the victims or their parents to lie as they had a good prior relationship with Medina-Herrera.
Once released from prison, Medina-Herrera must register as a sex offender.