PRESCOTT, Arizona - The attorney for a 24-year-old man accused of sexual conduct with several underage girls said Wednesday in court that he wasn't convinced that the victims were as young as the Yavapai County Attorney's Office claims they were.
Robert L. Curry of Chino Valley is facing two counts of sexual contact with a minor under 15 years of age and three counts of sexual conduct with a minor under 18. If a jury finds him guilty, he could face more than 60 years in prison.
Curry was charged in July 2013 after a YCSO investigation, according to a police probable cause statement. His alleged victims range in age from 13 to 16. Detectives interviewed several girls and confirmed details of their sexual relationship with Curry, the statement said, and one underage victim is alleged to have a child resulting from her relations with Curry.
Victims also indicated Curry lied about his age during their initial contact with him, while others alleged abuse and instances of stalking, the statement said.
Attorney Dave Shapiro said Wednesday that his client would like to reach a settlement in the case and take a plea offer because "we see the state's evidence as being compelling," but that the offer was based on faulty information.
Deputy County Attorney Bill Hughes offered Curry the chance to cut down one of the most serious charges to attempted sexual conduct with a minor under 15, and give him lifetime probation on that and three other counts. But he would still have to serve a prison sentence of between 13 and 27 years first, which Shapiro said was too long.
Shapiro said he would agree to seven years plus probation, a number Superior Court Judge Jennifer Campbell said she didn't "think was in the realm of possibility." She asked if Hughes might consider offering a molestation charge instead, for a lesser sentence.
Hughes said he hadn't considered it but said he might be willing to offer it with a sentence of 11 to 13 years.
Shapiro said the charges were based on dates - and the ages of the girls - that were inaccurate, based on his own investigation.
"None of the victims was 12 or 13" years old, he said.
Hughes pointed out that Curry had admitted to the sexual conduct, so "the only defense, really, is to argue the dates."
Shapiro said the key to establishing all the victims' ages at the time of the offenses lies with the girl who had Curry's child, but that she wouldn't agree to be interviewed by the defense. She is not a named victim in the case.
Campbell said she would grant a motion to force the girl to give a deposition, because the trial, if there is to be one, is set for July, and "we want to get that witness deposed so you know where you stand in the case."
Hughes agreed to hold the offer open until the defense could interview the girl.