Michell Anderson Gambao Garcia was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years’ imprisonment for two offenses of gross indecency with a girl aged five, two counts of rape of a girl he said he thought was 16, and possession of indecent photographs of children.
Describing Garcia’s behavior as vile and depraved, Justice Michael Mettyear reduced the total sentence of 18 years to 12 years because of the defendant’s early guilty pleas.
Defense attorney Lee Halliday-Davis had pointed out that the early admissions of guilt saved the victims and their families the anxiety of waiting to come to court for trials.
“I hope the conclusion of these cases today will start the healing process for all,” the judge said.
Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin told the court that Garcia, now 26, had come to Cayman from Colombia in 2008 to work for an air conditioning repair and installation company. He had no previous convictions.
His offenses against the child occurred in the latter part of 2015. His offenses against the teenager occurred in the latter part of 2014.
The gross indecency occurred at the child’s home when she walked into a bedroom where he was working. He invited her to play a game with him. When an adult approached the room, he stopped what he was doing and climbed a ladder as if he were working. He told the girl not to tell.
Justice Mettyear said that the girl had shown bravery and good sense; she immediately did tell what the man had done to her. Her mother called police and her husband; she then showed courage by driving her car to block Garcia’s vehicle so he could not get away.
“What happened in that incident was every parent’s nightmare,” the judge said. A swab from the child produced a DNA sample that matched the defendant.
As part of the investigation, police recovered Garcia’s phones and memory cards with numerous indecent photographs of children.
One of the girls in the photos was apparently unconscious as Garcia is seen performing indecent acts on her. Police officers spoke to the teen, who had been unaware that anything had happened. The two rapes occurred about three weeks apart, with dates shown on the recording devices.
Justice Mettyear said the victim had been drunk or drugged into oblivion. In a victim impact statement, the girl reported being angry and feeling betrayed because she knew him and had trusted him. The judge emphasized that she had nothing to be ashamed of.
Ms. Halliday-Davis referred to the social inquiry report into Garcia’s background. It showed that he had been abused by his father, who had introduced him to pornography because he thought the boy might be gay. On learning that his son was inexperienced at age 17, he forced him to have sex with a prostitute.
In his sentencing remarks, the judge said Garcia appeared to have had a miserable and unhealthy upbringing, “but nothing can justify his behavior.”
It seemed Garcia had behaved himself when he first came to Cayman, but he was now assessed as being at a high risk of re-offending, the judge noted.
When there are multiple serious offenses, the principle of totality should be taken into account, he said in arriving at his final sentence.
For rape, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment, with the tariff 10 to 12 years after trial. In this case, he considered that there were two rapes, aggravated by the victim’s vulnerability and Garcia’s recording of his conduct. The sentence would have been 14 years after trial.
For the gross indecency with the child, the sentence would have been four years if the charges had been contested, the judge continued.
For possession of indecent photographs of children, the sentence would have been three years if these charges had been contested. On the principle of totality, he made this sentence to run concurrent.
The total sentences would have been 18 years, but the Crown had accepted that the guilty pleas were early. On that basis, the judge reduced the rape sentences to nine years six months, with concurrent sentences for the indecent assaults Garcia had committed against the teen.
For the offenses of gross indecency with the child, the judge reduced the four years to two years six months, consecutive to the rape sentences.
The total was therefore 12 years.
Ms. Halliday-Davis said the defendant wanted to reassure the victims and their families that he had not distributed any photos of either victim. He hoped that they could someday forgive him.