Inside a courtroom brimming with tearful adults, Mono County Superior Court Judge Mark Magit sentenced former Mammoth Lakes daycare provider Guadalupe “Lupe” Almaguer to four, 15 years to life sentences to be served consecutively. Each sentence represents one of the four young female victims that Almaguer admitted to sexually assaulting, for a total sentence of 60 years to life in prison.
Currently in his late fifties, Almaguer is expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars. He was arrested on Oct. 5, 2010 pursuant to an arrest warrant for two charges against him. By December, two more victims had come forward and Almaguer had pleaded guilty to four counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14 (288 PC). All four of the victims had been juveniles and under his care when the abuse occurred. Since Almaguer had molested more than one victim his case was reviewed under the one-strike law, which allows harsher punishment for the abuser of multiple victims. A fifth victim had also come forward during the proceedings, and while Almaguer had not been charged for this victim, the evidence was allowed to be used when weighing his sentencing.
A somber Almaguer entered the courtroom on Tuesday with his eyes downcast. As he sat down, it was clear that he was breathing heavily. His hair had grown longer and the ends dipped below the collar of his Mono County Jail jacket. He listened quietly as Judge Magit reviewed the case and what had led him to his sentencing decision. Almaguer’s legal counsel David Hammon had asked that the sentences be allowed to be served concurrently, meaning Almaguer would have been up for parole after 15 years.
Hammon attested that after 15 years, Almaguer would be less of a threat because, among other things, he would be in his seventies by that time.
However, because of the exploited trust, the multiple victims, and the fact that the molestation occurred over many years Magit believed Almaguer one of the most dangerous types of pedophiles.
“He built up trust and used that trust,” Magit explained, adding that Almaguer not only betrayed his victims, but the entire community who had seen him as a trustworthy daycare provider.
Deputy District Attorney Todd Graham touted Almaguer as a “molester masquerading as a saint … one of the worst kinds of criminals.”
“There is no other greater trust than a daycare provider,” Graham added. He claimed that Almaguer should not be given any leniency for admitting his guilt because it was not until after the DA’s office had presented him with an overwhelming amount of evidence against him that Almaguer pleaded guilty.
Almaguer was allowed to make a statement and managed to choke out his apologies to the victims and their families for losing their trust.
“I am truly sorry,” he said.
As Almaguer was taken away by Mono County Sheriff’s, one member of the audience shouted “Rot, you piece of garbage!”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of this week’s print version of The Sheet, on newsstands Friday.