Defendant backs out of plea deal

Greenfield man accused of sexual assault opts to send the case to trial

GREENFIELD — Weeks after signing a plea agreement in his sexual assault case, a Greenfield man told a judge this week he’d rather let a jury decide his fate.

Francisco Mendoza Gaytan, 38, faces five sexual assault felony counts, including one Class A felony charge of child molesting and one Class B felony charge of sexual misconduct with a minor, records show.

Last month, Mendoza Gaytan signed an agreement from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to the Class A felony count of child molesting. Prosecutors said the document outlined that the man would serve no more than 30 years, but it allowed Hancock County Superior Court 1 Judge Terry Snow to decide the final terms of the sentence.

A Class A felony count carries a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.

But Wednesday — minutes before the agreement was to be finalized and Mendoza Gaytan was to formally plead guilty — his attorney told Snow the defendant no longer wanted to move forward with the agreement.

Snow granted the man’s request and set the case for trial. Now, a jury will be summoned to hear evidence June 5.

A victim came forward at the end of November to tell investigators Mendoza Gaytan had abused her repeatedly for nearly five years, court documents state.

She told police the man touched her inappropriately and forced her to engage in sex acts, court documents state.

The girl told police she had been afraid to come forward because she was worried the disclosure would cause problems for her family, court documents state. Eventually, she started confiding in friends because she was looking for help, court documents state.

When investigators brought Mendoza Gaytan to the Greenfield Police Department for an interview, he acknowledged that he knew of the girl’s accusations but told police he wanted to speak to an attorney before providing a statement, court documents state.

Before asking to speak with an attorney, he said to officers, “I am going to pay for everything I have done,” according to court documents.

Tyler Brant of Shelbyville, Mendoza Gaytan’s attorney, declined to comment on his client’s decision to back out of the agreement.

Prosecutor Catherine Wilson, who is handling the case for that state, said she was told Wednesday the defendant had changed his mind. Now, prosecutors will move forward with issuing subpoenas for witnesses to appear for the June 5 trial. Among them will be the victim and her mother, who were ordered to appear.

Mendoza Gaytan is not currently in police custody. He posted a $6,000 cash bond in January. He is ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Snow told Wilson and Brant they can try to reach another plea deal ahead of the new trial date, but no agreement will be accepted after May 17.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.