LAS CRUCES – A man accused of sexually abusing women in his family was granted an unsecured bond after spending approximately two and a half years in prison.
Gilbert Uranga, 56, received an unsecured loan of $ 5,000 from a judge Friday morning. It was the last of three cases he stayed in jail while awaiting trial in 2022.
Uranga was arrested and booked in March 2019 when several women from his family made allegations that Uranga raped them. A total of five proceedings were opened against Uranga. The cases also came with large secured bonds that kept Uranga in jail.
All but one of the prosecutors said that Uranga raped them when they were children. The other accuser told police that she was developmentally disordered.
But a lot has happened since Uranga’s arrest, a fact that his attorney Todd Holmes quickly brought up during a hearing on Friday.
Holmes pointed out that two of the five cases against Uranga have been settled. One case was closed by prosecutors because the alleged victim had died, according to court documents.
In the second settled case, which arose from allegations that he raped his daughter, a jury acquitted Uranga of rape and incest allegations.
Holmes argued that prosecutors were unable to prove that Uranga was related to the alleged victim, despite the fact that Uranga admitted police had paid child support to the woman’s mother and named the alleged victim his daughter during police interrogation.
Holmes also argued that all sexual activity was consensual. During the trial, experts testified that the alleged victim became pregnant. DNA results showed Uranga was the father, the experts said.
“That was the strongest case,” said Holmes during the hearing on Friday.
In the remaining three cases, Uranga is charged with sexually abusing two nieces and his sister. In the three cases, he faces four charges of criminal sexual penetration. All three are to be negotiated in separate processes in February and March 2022.
Uranga is now allowed to wait the remaining five months for the processes to begin at home.
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Third judge judge Conrad Perea began setting a $ 10,000 secured bond on Friday but changed the verdict during the hearing. Uranga said he would not be able to release $ 10,000 on a bond from prison, so Perea dropped the bond to $ 5,000 and made it unsecured. An unsecured loan means Uranga will not have to pay unless he violates the terms of his release.
During the hearing, Perea said that he was forced by state law to give Uranga a loan that he could afford. Perea said the reason he reduced the loan at Uranga’s request was because Uranga had shown that he was unable to pay the previous loan.
“I held you for a long time,” said Perea. “We have to go to court in these cases.”
Release Conditions and Harassment
Perea gave Uranga standard terms of release – no drugs, no alcohol, no additional charges, and no contact with alleged victims – but with something special. Uranga’s family should not have any contact with the alleged victims, Perea said.
“If there is anything that could jeopardize this case, speak to the (alleged victims),” said Perea.
The additional conditions arose from the allegation that Uranga’s family, particularly his wife and daughter, molested two alleged victims. The two alleged victims said during the hearing that they feared Uranga’s family would continue to harass them if Uranga were released.
“His wife and daughter tried to attack me at a gas station a few months ago,” said one of the alleged victims.
She said that Uranga’s daughter (not the woman who accused him of rape) beat her window while his wife yelled at her during the incident. She said she contacted the police
“I just think if he gets out it’ll be a little bit worse,” said the alleged victim.
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But Uranga spoke on his own behalf, saying that his family would not take revenge on witnesses and that he would respect the release conditions.
“I do not know anything about these allegations,” said Uranga during the hearing. “I’m here for a series of lies, but that will be for a later date.”
Bryan Glecki, assistant district attorney, said that if prosecutors learned of harassment, they would file a motion to have Uranga’s release conditions lifted.
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 575-541-5449 or on Twitter at @ Just516garc.