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Bravo sentenced on attempted sex abuse charges

April 21st, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lis Stewart

LOGAN—Leo Bravo, former director of the Cache Valley Multicultural Center, was sentenced to up to two years in the Cache County Jail Wednesday morning on two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse.

In his final statement before Judge Thomas Wilmore, defense attorney Shannon Demler said the 62-year-old Bravo is a respected member of the community. Bravo deeply regrets his mistake, he said. He asked Wilmore to show mercy and leniency. “There’s no question he won’t be back before this court,” Demler said.

After hearing the prosecutor’s and Demler’s statements, Wilmore sentenced Bravo to serve two one-year sentences consecutively, with a review set for Oct. 25.

“A mistake is defined as doing an act without knowing the consequences or having experience,” Wilmore said to the defendant. “This wasn’t a mistake. You knew what would happen.”

Bravo pleaded guilty to the counts, both class-A misdemeanors, on March 8. He was booked and charged on two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse, and one count of stalking in December 2009, less than a month after the incident in question occurred. The stalking charge was later dismissed.

Bravo has worked with the immigrant community in Cache Valley for over 30 years. Demler said Bravo began an extramarital relationship with a woman, the victim, who came to the multicultural center for help several years ago.

“The victim of this case was one of the most vulnerable people in our community,” prosecuting attorney Spencer Walsh said.

Walsh said when the woman came to the center for assistance again one night in Nov. 2009, she was going through personal troubles, and was not looking for a sexual relationship. According to reports, Bravo inappropriately touched her.

Friends and family of Bravo wrote many letters to the court stressing what a valued person he was in the community and all the good he has done, Demler said. Bravo knows what he did was wrong and it was a betrayal of his family and values, he said.

Walsh said the letters are a double-edged sword.

“Mr. Bravo has been in a position of trust in our community longer than I’ve been here,” Walsh said. “He abused his position of power.”

Bravo was immediately taken into custody of the Cache County Sheriff’s Office after the sentencing. In addition to serving time at the county jail, he was ordered to pay fines and restitution costs, complete sex offender treatment therapy, have no contact with the victim or her family, and be under Group B restrictions for sex offenders. Group B restrictions include registering as a sex offender and submitting to DNA testing.

NW

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