Payson Teen Faces Trial As Adult In Assault On Young Girl


A Payson teen will face trial Aug. 2 as an adult three years after he allegedly had sex with a 12-year-old girl behind a shopping center.

The defendant was 14 years old at the time of the incident.

The teen is accused of meeting the girl behind Stage Department Store, getting her drunk and then sexually assaulting her on a mattress, according to police reports.

The girl had been walking with a 14-year-old friend when she met up with the boy and his cousin.

It is the Roundup’s policy not to name victims or suspects in sex crimes. Suspects are only identified after conviction.

Prosecution of the case has been pending since a grand jury indicted him after 19 months of intermittent hearings before Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill.

On June 13, the teen sat quietly at a pretrial conference with his lawyer, Ronald Debrigida Jr.

State prosecutors say they will call 15 witnesses during the trial.

Officers found the 12-year-old girl face down in the dirt with her arms spread at her sides, incoherent and barely able to stand in a wooded area behind the Bashas’ shopping center, according to a police report.

Officers said the girl had writings on her arm and stomach in black marker. Markings included “I’M A HOE” and a swastika.

On a nearby brick wall sat the girl’s friend, who also smelled of alcohol.

The suspect’s cousin was also on scene, saying he didn’t know the girls because he had just met them. The suspect had reportedly fled the scene when he saw the officer’s vehicle.

As Officer Mike Barker questioned the cousin, the victim reportedly yelled out several times that she lost her boyfriend who she loved very much.

Paramedics brought the girl to the hospital where she admitted she had slept with the defendant.

Later, DNA testing of a used condom found in the woods showed positive identification of both the suspect and victim.

Under Arizona statute, children under 15 years of age are unable to consent to sexual conduct regardless of the age of the defendant.

The defendant denied assaulting the girl. A preliminary breath test confirmed he had not been drinking.

At the hospital, the intoxicated girl continued to make statements that she had lost her virginity to the boy and had wanted to sleep with him.

“(She) was loud and crying so arrangements were made to move another patient and place (her) in an exam room,” said Sgt. Dean Faust in a report.

“After a few moments, (she) became upset and began yelling and trying to get out of the bed ... During this time, (she) began yelling that she lost her virginity and that she was sorry.

“She said that she did not want to get him in trouble.”

Faust later overheard the girl say to a woman in her room that she had told the boy to sleep with her.

The defendant continued to deny to police that he had slept with the girl.

“It was believed that (he) purposely got (her) intoxicated with the intent to have sex with her,” said Det. Less Barr in a report.

The defendant was on intensive probation at the time of the incident.


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