- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A plea deal in a sexual assault case against a former Utah State University fraternity brother could fall apart over the disputed results of a psychosexual evaluation.

Judge Brian Cannell said Wednesday he can’t rely on the test that found 27-year-old Jason Relopez presents a low-to-moderate risk of committing another assault. Cannell said he will allow the defendant to back out of the deal.

The test was central to a plea deal in the case. Prosecutors agreed to recommend a less-serious jail sentence if the exam found Relopez is low-risk, but said they’d ask for prison time if it indicated he could be dangerous later.

“We just want to make sure the public is safe,” said prosecutor Barbara Lachmar. “How confident can we be in these conclusions?”

The judge scheduled a status conference for April 19.

The Logan Herald-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1qJQrqL) that prosecutors called the evaluation inconclusive, but defense attorney Shannon Demler argued that prosecutors simply don’t like the results and are trying to back out of the deal.

“The deal should be upheld,” said Demler. “The report we have is clearly on our side and we don’t need to retest until we get different results.”

Relopez was originally charged with rape, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. He pleaded guilty in February to reduced charges of attempted rape and attempted forcible sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said he raped a 19-year-old woman multiple times. A second woman, age 20, testified during an evidence hearing that she had been doing homework with Relopez when they started making out. She said she told him she didn’t want to have sex but he raped her.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who make allegations of sexual assault.

The psychosexual evaluation involved a psychologist administering 11 tests to Relopez over an eight-hour period. One of those tests came back inconclusive, showing that there was not enough information to determine the chance of Relopez re-offending.

The psychologist who administered the test said that result can be caused by the person lying or being really anxious.

Another test showed there is a moderate risk of Relopez re-offending.


Information from: The Herald Journal, https://www.hjnews.com

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