Georgatos Guilty On Drug, Sex Charges

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A Payson man has been found guilty of sexual conduct with two 14-year-old minors and on drugs charges.

A Gila County jury on March 6 found Payson resident Thomas Georgatos, 36, guilty of three counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15 -- a dangerous crime against children; and three counts of involving a minor in a drug offense, with two of these counts being classed as a dangerous crime against children, said Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores.

To be guilty of a dangerous crime against children a defendant must target a child who is under the age of 15, Flores said. If found guilty of any dangerous crime against children, the penalty is harsher and is served without possibility of parole, Flores said.

Georgatos, in an unrelated case, still faces charges of first-degree murder in a case where a man was allegedly murdered and stashed in the trunk of a burning car. No trial date has been set.

On Jan. 3, 2007, now retired Payson Police Department Detective Steve Johnson was called to assist with the investigation of a possible sexual assault and drug use by the victims and Georgatos. After an investigation, it was determined that Georgatos, with another adult male, took three teenage girls, ages 17, 14 and 14, to a hotel in Payson.

While in the hotel room, Georgatos and his 42-year-old male friend gave methamphetamines to all three girls. The 42-year-old male left with the 17-year-old girl, and while Georgatos was alone with both 14-year-old girls, he engaged in sexual conduct with each.

Georgatos is scheduled to be sentenced in Payson at 9 a.m., Monday, March 31, by Presiding Judge Peter Cahill.

Georgatos is facing mandatory consecutive prison sentences on five separate dangerous crimes against children offenses for a total possible sentence of 65 to 135 years, plus another potential 10.5 to 35 years on the remaining count with a total possible punishment of 170 years.

"All three victims and their families assisted in ensuring Georgatos was held accountable for his actions.

"The three young ladies showed particular strength and bravery in reporting this crime and testifying at trial. Additionally, it is always the diligent effort of the investigating agency that ensures any successful prosecution and the Payson Police Department, Detective Les Barr and Detective Steve Johnson, now retired, are commended for their efforts and assistance in this matter," Flores said.

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