Man convicted of child sex abuse charges, gets sex offender probation

Defendant could face up to 12 years in prison

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
The Aztec District Court building at 103 S. Oliver Dr., in Aztec.
  • Henry Herrera, 62, pleaded no-contest on May 17 to two, third-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact as part of a plea agreement.
  • District Court Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Herrera on May 26 to two, six-year prison sentences, which were suspended in favor of five years of sex offender probation.

FARMINGTON — A man convicted of two child sex abuse charges has been sentenced to five years of sex offender probation, with a 12-year prison sentence if he violates his probation.

Henry Herrera, 62, pleaded no contest on May 17 to two third-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact as part of a plea agreement between the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office and the defendant, according to court documents.

District Court Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Herrera on May 26 to two six-year prison sentences, which were suspended in favor of five years of sex offender probation.

If Herrera violates his probation and is sentenced to the New Mexico Department of Corrections, he will have to serve the sentences consecutively, up to a total of 12 years.

The defendant originally was charged on Jan. 25, 2019, with two first-degree felony counts of criminal sexual penetration and three second-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact, according to The Daily Times archives.

The criminal sexual penetration charges were reduced to the third-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact.

The three second-degree felony counts of criminal sexual contact were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

The May 17 plea agreement did not list a suggested sentence for Herrera, but the prosecution did not oppose probation for the defendant.

Dale Johnson, Herrera’s attorney, told The Daily Times it’s been rough for the family of the victim. He hopes they can heal and put the events behind them.

The victim spoke during the May 26 sentencing hearing, asking the judge to sentence Herrera to sex offender probation, according to Johnson.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien told The Daily Times that sex offender probation is more rigorous than regular probation and that Herrera has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

He added the DA's Office consults the family of the victim when discussing issues like plea agreements.

"We take the family's wishes into consideration when we make offers to resolve cases," O'Brien said. "Under the circumstances of this case, I think the result was a fair result. "

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office investigation was launched on Jan. 17, 2019, after the agency was received a report by New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department.

That was after a safehouse interview with the victim, a juvenile girl, who stated Herrera molested her twice.

Court documents did not list a time or date for the criminal offenses, but the victim was under the age of 13 at the time of the offenses.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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