Torrington man sentenced for unlawful touching

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 4/17/24

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Circuit Court met Thursday morning at 11 a.m. for the sentencing of Torrington man, Harold Flores, for the unlawful touching of a young local woman.

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Torrington man sentenced for unlawful touching


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Circuit Court met Thursday morning at 11 a.m. for the sentencing of Torrington man, Harold Flores, for the unlawful touching of a young local woman.

District Judge Nathaniel Hibben presided over the proceedings with Goshen County and Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Boyer, representing the State of Wyoming.

Representing the defense of Flores was Wheatland attorney, Eric Jones.

The defendant had previously been found guilty concluding a bench trial conducted by the Goshen County Circuit Court.

The hearing began with the state advocating on behalf of the victim before the court, citing significant mental and emotional trauma brought on by the defendant.

“Your Honor, the victim is here today and has chosen not to make a statement but has been advised to speak to the victim’s office should she change her mind,” Boyer began. “The conclusion of the court’s reasoning at the trial was the testimony involving sexually provocative touching or grinding. The state would find a sentence for unlawful touching being a watered-down version of battery; someone who touches someone else in a rude or insolent manner or uses sufficient force to cause bodily injury. The issue here isn’t bodily injury, but the emotional and psychological effects on the victim is.

“With this being said, I suggest proper restitution at just over $600 is utterly fair and reasonable,” Boyer continued. “This would be for victim’s counseling and therapy for the trauma she received in this case.”

Boyer continued further in the direction of the defendant, noting a significant lack of remorse and responsibility over the course of legal proceedings in this particular instance.

“I suggest arguably with all similar sets of facts alleging sexual gratification, innuendos and leaving a woman victimized; my understanding is the defendant plead guilty months ago to the plea agreement both parties had worked out,” Boyer continued. “Apparently, they failed or refused to sign the plea agreement resulting in a stalemate and which has not yet been resolved. I find this interesting and unnerving. If it pleases the court in this case, what I just related in city court furthers my belief the defendant literally shows no capability and never has. The defendant was arguably untruthful in his testimony in court, the only flipside is the defendant’s health. I’m aware the defendant through counsel has had extraordinarily serious health concerns which have been concerning to him. I take that at face value and don’t disbelieve it, although I don’t know how this factors in here. Regardless of this, the defendant is here today and was given time for a delayed sentencing. I suggest the sentence should be extended with suspended incarceration, at his own expense receive counseling and treatment in relation to sex offense, and or anger management. The defendant should, as part of probation report to the court, again at his own expense and seek out any appropriate treatment for this type of behavior.”

The defense was soon after given a chance to redirect in light of the state’s arguments. Jones would speak on behalf of his client noting a strong desire for Flores’ wishes to merely move on, put the matter behind him, and continue fighting his battle with cancer.

“Your Honor I’m going to talk backwards in terms of this,” Jones began. “Mr. Boyer wants to talk about city court and things of that nature, but with the plea agreements signed in this packet here Mr. Flores had no desire to get cancer, had no desire to fight cancer, and had no desire to sit in a hospital to have surgery. It is ridiculous to state we drug this on or made implications he hasn’t done what was needed because of his health. Mr. Flores had successful surgery, and he is still under the care of his physicians. Cancer was found on his kidneys and lungs which were removed. He indicated to me he still goes to physicians two to three times a week for follow-up.”

Judge Hibben would soon stop the statement, citing Flores’ health matters were not implied negatively in such a way by the state in the final legal process of sentencing.

“This is not the way I take that,” Hibben said. “I am familiar with his healthcare issues. So, take a moment. I want to hear about them as I think it’s relative to the sentence, however, it is not the implication I heard Mr. Boyer make. Let’s talk about sentencing factors.”

“In relation to Mr. Flores, my understanding was there was not any previous activity like this or other activities relating to this,” Jones continued. “We are here to talk about one instance where the state alleges he touched another in a rude and insolent manner. I would have to say Mr. Boyer is a worthy legal advisory. He interviewed Mr. Flores, the victim, and her mother. He could have charged him with many other things if it was true as the state puts it. This was something where he needs to look at sex offender treatment. I don’t think $600 will be an issue.”

After hearing both statements from the defense and prosecution, the present victim did change her mind and chose to speak before the court and her attacker.

Feeling more comfortable sitting at the state’s table next to Boyer, the victim made a statement in light of hearing the defense’s argument.

The victim did not hold back words of sincere hurt and anger towards Flores, citing an illness in any form is never an excuse to violate or harm another person. She would cite the loss of a very close family member as strong reasoning as to why the statements of the defense were not authentic.

“I would like to say sir, I am sure you never wanted to get cancer,” the victim stated. “I understand that. My father died a month after he was diagnosed. Throughout this life, he had chronic health issues, was constantly shaking, and had a shattered lumbar. With that being said, he never ever hurt a soul. He never grinded on or touched anyone. He was the kindest soul I ever knew. He helped everyone he came in contact with. If you ask anyone he knew, they would say they loved him. He impacted people in ways that are just unbelievable, and I strive to be like him. He was a one-of-a-kind person. When you say because of all these issues you have, and because of your back, or whatever, is why you grinded on me and did all these things is just terrible. My dad had chronic illness. I have chronic illness. My uncle has chronic illness. That is not ever an excuse for hurting someone. Don’t ever use it as an excuse to hurt someone. It invalidates other people; it invalidates the victim and it invalidates people with chronic illnesses. The only person you have to blame is yourself for this. You can curse me all you want, and I understand it. The reason we are here today is because I spoke up, and that is fine. But don’t ever use your illness as a reason you did something wrong. I have so many mental illnesses I could use as reasons to go out and do things wrong, but I don’t. I own up when I do something wrong. When you do something wrong, it’s because you at your core are a bad person. Thank you.”

After hearing statements from each party including the victim herself, Judge Hibben spoke in the direction of the defendant; seemingly agreeing with the victim’s statement on Flores’ behavior not being the result of suffering from cancer.

“I first take into account the charge, but I take into account the nature of the act I found were modulated by others,” Hibben stated. “Conduct which I felt ultimately showed you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of touching someone in a rude or insolent way. It is a situation where your intentional conduct was accompanied with statements. I found your conduct was intentional and was not the result of shaking or falling. These things took place in your home by you towards the victim. So, a change of nature with facts of this variety would perhaps very often be accompanied by a lengthy jail sentence and would be the appropriate sentence.”

In consideration of the current cancer treatment Flores is receiving, the court deemed it appropriate for a suspended jail sentence plus over $1,000 in fines, court costs, and restitution.

“Taking all this into account, it is the judgment of the court for you to be sentenced to 180 days in jail, in which you will serve 10 of those days,” Hibben said. “You will book yourself in tomorrow and will be released on April 22 followed by six months of probation. Within 30 days of today, you will obtain a clinical assessment, it will be disclosed to the court, and it will be confidential. You will comply with all recommendations.”

The court stood in recess at 11:33 a.m.