After a rape allegation, Latino activist Tony Yapias gets 15 days in jail for lesser crimes

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Well-known Utah Latino activist Tony Yapias, who has been charged with rape for an alleged assault on a woman who had broken off their long-term relationship in March, holds a press conference in North Salt Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

Utah Latino activist Tony Yapias, who was originally accused of rape but pleaded guilty to other charges, will spend 15 days in jail starting shortly after Christmas.

Yapias was arrested and charged two years ago, accused of sexually assaulting a woman after she had broken off their long-term relationship.

In August, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in connection to the March 2016 encounter when the woman said he forced himself on her — neither of which were sex crimes.

Instead, he pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, admitting he deleted text messages from the woman, in which she said she did not want to see him. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful detention, admitting he had kept her in her home longer than she wanted to be.

And on Monday, 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy sentenced Yapias to spend 15 days behind bars for the crimes, in addition to two years of probation.

Yapias’ attorney, Deborah Kreek Mendez, had asked for no jail time for Yapias, whose full name is Adolpho Tony Yapias-Delgado. Mendez told the judge Monday it was Yapias who had broken off the relationship, and the victim had become jealous. The sexual contact was consensual, Yapias has said.

The victim in the case had asked the judge for the maximum penalty — a year and a half in jail — saying Yapias damaged her mentally and physically.

She said in court Monday that she did not want to have sex with Yapias on March 21, 2016.

The victim told the judge through a Spanish interpreter that she broke off the relationship with Yapias after realizing they “did not have any real relationship.”

On that day, Yapias came to her home, grabbed her arms, took her to her bedroom and started to kiss and undress her.

“I begged him not to touch me because I didn’t want anything to do with him,” she said. “And he refused to listen to me.”

The woman said she was terrified in that moment and “let him do whatever he wanted to do.”

The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Yapias will begin serving his jail time Dec. 27.

The Latino activist said after his sentencing that there were details about the case that are not publicly known and will be something he “will talk about later,” but did not elaborate.

But he said he won’t appeal his sentence, saying he’ll use the time in jail as a learning experience.

“I take responsibility,” he said. “And I’m going to take that as an opportunity to learn a little bit about our system.”

Yapias is the director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, which works on immigration and Latino issues. The Peru native was director of Utah’s Hispanic Affairs Office and has had several radio shows for Spanish-speaking audiences.