A Maricopa County Superior Court judge sentenced Arthur Rey Juarez, 44, to 33 years in prison and lifetime probation on Friday, April 24, for three counts of sexual acts with a minor.
A trial by jury in March, 2013, found Juarez, a former employee of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, guilty of attempt to commit molestation of a child, molestation of a child and sexual conduct with a minor for crimes that were committed in 1998.
The three charges were from one victim, a current U.S. Marine who was just a teenager in 1998.
Two other male accusers’ allegations, who were also teenagers in 1998, were acquitted during the trial.
Nine friends and family members filled the defendant benches as a clean-shaven Juarez entered the court room in handcuffs and with a fresh haircut.
Prosecutor Kathleen Campbell argued for the maximum sentence for life in prison, stating that Juarez had manipulated the trust of his friends and family as well as the family of the alleged victims.
“He used his position through his employer to gain the trust of the victim’s family,” she said. “He knew that the kids would be unsupervised with him and he absolutely calculated to make the situation his own.”
Juarez’s defense attorney Jay Rock argued that Juarez’s past does not display a predatory nature, that if he were a predator, more incidents would have occurred between 1998 and 2013.
Rock also said that the victim claimed severe emotional damage during the 2013 trial, but Rock argued that he “seems to have done pretty well for himself” being a married Marine and an upstanding citizen.
Juarez’s sister said that Juarez, the youngest of seven, acted as the primary caregiver for their mother, donated clothes to charities that provided for needy children and the homeless, and worked at the University of Phoenix where he organized community service projects for employees.
“I am still very upset, confused and trying to understand why he’s in the position he is at this time,” she said. “He’s not the wolf he’s being portrayed to be. He is a good person and has proven himself in society.”
A close friend of Juarez said that she understands the charges against him but that she does not believe he would commit such crimes.
“He is not this phantom or this spook who has come in the night to steal the innocence of children,” she said.
She and Juarez met in 1985 during a high school theater class and that he used to donate photography services to local performing artists free of charge because he wanted to help others succeed.
While friends and family pleaded for leniency, Campbell argued that their disbelief in Juarez’s crimes is what makes him so “dangerous.”
“His family and community support should not carry much weight with this court,” she said. “His family and community support is what enabled him to commit these offenses, the defendant himself made sure of that,” Campbell argued.
Rock told Judge Pamela Svoboda that there was a “logical inconsistency” with the state’s minimum sentencing of 10 to 17 years in prison for crimes toward three victims but a 30 years to life sentence for crimes toward one victim.
He asked for the mandatory minimum sentence of 23 years for the three charges against Juarez.
Svoboda found the mitigating factors of Juarez’s character were “sufficiently substantial” to warrant a “some-what mitigated term”.
Svoboda sentenced Juarez to 15 years imprisonment for molestation of a child, followed consecutively with 18 years imprisonment for sexual conduct with a minor and lifetime probation for attempt to commit molestation of a child. Juarez was also ordered to register as a sex offender when released from prison.