Mesa Del Man Pleads Guilty To Molestation


A man accused of molesting young girls in his Mesa del Caballo neighborhood two years ago was sentenced Thursday in Gila County Superior Court.

The defendant, 29-year-old Taron Padilla, entered a plea agreement with the court and was sentenced to 2.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Padilla also will spend the rest of his life on probation and must register as a sex offender.

The father of one of the victims, who asked to remain anonymous to protect the identity of his daughter, said he was grateful that the matter was settled in a plea agreement so his daughter would not be called to testify.

He was not pleased, however, with the sentence Padilla received.

"He got 2 1/2 years," the father said. "That's not long enough. I was hoping for at least 15 years, which is what was discussed in an earlier plea agreement."

Padilla was originally booked into Gila County jail Feb. 12, 1999 and was released Jan. 25, 2000.

He'll get credit for the 347 days already served in jail, Superior Court Judge Edd Dawson said, and he'll end up serving just over 1 1/2 years in prison.

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