PINEDALE – Two changes of plea scheduled for brothers Efrain Astorga-Valdez and Sergio Maximiliano Astorga were cancelled Tuesday due to a motion to amend the criminal information from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The case will be remanded in Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District, rather than the District Court, at a later date.
Information on what the brothers may be charged with or why the charges were changed to misdemeanors is unspoken currently due to the ongoing nature of the case, Sublette County Attorney Neal Stelting explained in an email to the Roundup.
In late November, the brothers were arrested on felony charges of sexual assault in the first degree.
According to an affidavit by Sublette County Sheriff’s Office Captain Lance Gehlhausen, a woman reported the alleged crime on Nov. 29 after going to the defendants’ room in the Sand Draw Inn and blacking out from alcohol.
The affidavit claims the woman drank at least four shots at the urging of the brothers. The woman also mentioned unwanted advances; she repeatedly stressed to Gehlhausen in interviews that she told Astorga-Valdez to stop, but she also acknowledged she didn’t remember kissing Sergio.
In later interviews, the brothers said they’d engaged in intercourse after prodding from investigators, and Sergio admitted to redressing the woman after the encounters.
However, Sergio sent a text message during interviews accusing the woman of lying and claiming he and Efrain were the true victims, according to the affidavit. Law enforcement decided there was enough evidence to arrest the brothers.
“After reviewing statements provided to Detective Mackenzie by [the accuser], Sergio Astorga and Efrain Astorga and the fact that Sergio Astorga states himself that he had to physically help [the accuser] get dressed after sex, your affiant believes that there is probable cause that [the accuser] was ‘physically helpless’ in which she was unconscious, asleep or otherwise physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act at the time of sexual intrusion,” Gehlhausen wrote in his affidavit.
A Circuit Court date will be set at a later time.