CEDAR CITY — A West Valley City man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at a music festival in Iron County more than two years ago has been sentenced to at least three years in prison.
Robert Jacob Garcia, 25, was sentenced in 5th District Court in Cedar City on Monday morning by Judge Matthew L. Bell, who ordered that Garcia serve a term of at least three years and which may be for life in the Utah State Prison.
As part of a plea agreement, Garcia pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2023, to a single count of attempted rape, a first-degree felony that carries a three-year mandatory minimum. The amount of time Garcia ultimately will serve in prison will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons.
In exchange for his guilty plea, three other charges against Garcia were dismissed with prejudice — one count of object rape and two counts of forcible sexual abuse.
According to court documents, Garcia was arrested by Iron County Sheriff’s deputies the night of July 31, 2021, during the Landslide Festival concert at Three Peaks Oasis.
The deputies reportedly were conducting a field patrol during the concert when a naked woman walking on the property told them she had been raped by a man who was staying in an adjacent campsite.
The suspect eluded officers at first but eventually was found and taken into custody. Garcia was later picked out of a police lineup by his accuser, according to court documents.
In a separate but concurrent and related case, Garcia pleaded guilty to failure to stop at command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 18 months probation, which he completed in July.
Following Monday’s sentencing, Iron County prosecutor and public information officer Trajan Evans expressed his appreciation for the deputies who helped with the investigation.
“Deputies Menke, Lauritzen, Kennedy, Turk and Davis should be recognized for their efforts in bringing Mr. Garcia to justice,” Evans told Cedar City News in a written statement. “They were able to competently investigate a serious sexual offense in the midst of a chaotic music festival with thousands of people. I know that our office and the victim is grateful for their work. Without their work and the strength and resiliency of the victim, justice could not have been achieved.”
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