By Sanne Specht
A Medford man was sentenced to almost six years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to multiple sex-crime charges related to underage girls.
Christian Alexander Sanchez, 20, made no statement during his sentencing hearing before Judge Lorenzo Mejia. Sanchez will serve 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree sex abuse, one count of second-degree online corruption of a child and using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct — a Measure 11 charge.
“This has had a huge affect on all the victims’ lives,” said prosecutor Adam Peterson. “But I am confident they will all be able to move forward. This will not define them. And Mr. Sanchez is being held accountable for the crimes he committed.”
Sanchez was arrested and indicted in October on allegations he met more than a dozen teen girls online, sent them explicit nude photographs, and sexually abused at least three of them. Police seized Sanchez’s phone and found nude pictures of underage girls, along with evidence that Sanchez had sent them nude and explicit photographs of himself, police said.
The victims, all from Southern Oregon, were between the ages of 13 and 16. Most lived in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass. Sanchez typically met them on social-media sites, then met some of the victims in person, police said.
He also engaged in “sexting” with the underage girls, police said.
Court records listed 27 charges, including nine counts of first-degree sex abuse, four counts of third-degree sex abuse; two counts each of third-degree rape; using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and online corruption of a child; and charges of fourth-degree assault, coercion, second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree and attempted first- and second-degree sodomy, and first- and second-degree unlawful sexual penetration.
A new indictment was filed last week that reflected the plea agreement, said Sanchez’s public defender Chris Missiaen.
Sanchez was sentenced to between 90 days and 70 months for each of the six charges. All sentences will run concurrently, said Peterson. The 70-month sentence is tied to the Measure 11 guilty plea on using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, he said.
“That specific victim was 13 years old,” Peterson said, adding Sanchez induced the victims to send him their pictures, but he did not distribute the images.
“This agreement was the result of careful consultation with all of the victims in this case,” he said.
Sanchez’s father had railed against police for “attacking” his son for non-malicious “high school” behavior in earlier Mail Tribune stories. But Sanchez’s mother apologized to the families and asked for forgiveness and mercy.
Many of the victims’ parents who attended the sentencing had sent letters to the judge, but they opted not to speak publicly in court.
Parents should not believe their “daughter’s life is over,” Mejia said, urging them to seek treatment and counseling for their children so that their “personal relationships in the future can be healthy.”
Mejia told Sanchez he was a young man who would “walk among us again.” He urged Sanchez to use his time in prison to learn respect and gain empathy for other people.
“You knew what you were doing was not the right thing to do,” Mejia said.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.