'Guilty' Verdict in Rape Trial

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, October 8 2012 at 4:48 PM, Updated: Mon, October 8 2012 at 4:58 PM

A jury has found a Klamath Falls man 'guilty' on multiple charges of sexually abusing an 11 year old female relative.

It took the jury less than two hours to reach a verdict.

Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Marci Warner Adkisson read the verdict shortly after 2:pm...

"Count one - unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree - guilty - rape in the first degree, count two - guilty..."

33 year old Juan Carlos Diaz was found 'guilty' on all 14 counts of rape, sodomy, and unlawful sexual penetration.  Closing arguments were made this morning.

"Indicators of prolonged sexual abuse?"  Questioned defense attorney Stephen Hedlund.  "Not a single physical indicator was there to establish that this had taken place."

Klamath County Senior Deputy District Attorney Sharon Forster disagreed...

"It's right here, folks.  It's not beyond any doubt.  Because for you not to have any doubt, you'd have had to have been there watching them."

Diaz was accused of sexually abusing the young girl between April and December of 2011.  The emotional trial began last Wednesday.

Defense attorney Hedlund maintained his client's innocence...

"I'm asking you to find Mister Diaz 'not guilty' of all of the charges."

The victim, now 12, testified on Thursday of last week.

"It was a 'he said, she said'."  Noted prosecutor Forster.  "The evidence that supported the victim's statements was overwhelming in this case."

The judge has not yet set a date for sentencing.

Diaz will face a minimum of 25 years in prison, since the victim was under the age of 12.  If all sentences are run consecutively, Diaz could face a sentence of over 300 years.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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