GRAFTON, N.D.-A Grafton man previously charged with serious sex crimes against a child faces lesser charges as a result of a plea agreement.
Jose Luis Garcia, 44, initially was charged in Walsh County District Court with two Class A felony counts of gross sexual imposition after a child reported he or she was sexually assaulted by Garcia, according to court document filed Oct. 6. Those charges changed Thursday after a preliminary hearing and were listed on the North Dakota Courts website as two Class C felony counts of child neglect or abuse.
Initial charging documents give few details into the incident that led to the case against Garcia. A complaint refers to a Sept. 23 incident in Grafton during which Garcia is accused of inappropriately touching a victim who is less than 15 years old.
Details are unclear on the plea agreement since a draft hasn't been made public, though the reduction in charges were filed after prosecutors received input from the victim and the child's family. Statements filed by the victim and his or her family were sealed pursuant to a judicial order to protect the victim's identity.
Walsh County State's Attorney Kelley Cole declined to comment on this story.
No further hearings for Garcia were scheduled as of Friday, but the case remains open.
A Class A felony carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, but the downgraded charge means Garcia could face five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each charge.