Erik Gutierrez

Erik Gutierrez

VALPARAISO — A 39-year-old Portage man was to be sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to attempting to contact the victim of the incest case that sent him to prison three years ago.

But sentencing was delayed at the request of the defense after it was revealed that Erik Gutierrez faces a year more behind bars than he had expected, according to his attorney Mark Chargualaf.

The additional time appeared because of the determination that credit for jail time on the new felony invasion of privacy charge would not start until after the charge was filed in February, Chargualaf said. The time served prior by his client is being applied to the probation violation tied with the allegation.

The sentencing hearing was continued until July 23 by Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper, who said she too will be taking another look at the proposed plea agreement.

Gutierrez pleaded guilty to a felony count of invasion of privacy and admitted to violating the terms of his probation by attempting to contact the victim from his original 2015 case, according to court records.

He admitted to reaching out to the female numerous times through Facebook Messenger between July 7-13, according to court documents.

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It was a long string of Facebook messages that shed light on the original case, resulting in Gutierrez being charged with felony counts of incest and attempted incest.

Police printed out 110 pages of messages where Gutierrez very graphically describes a variety of sexual acts he wanted to carry out with the young family member, according to charging information. He was also accused of sending a nude photo of himself.

Police said he had sexual contact with the family member during the fall of 2014 and had suggested more in the Facebook messages.

Gutierrez, who blamed his drinking on the messages, later pleaded guilty the charge of attempted incest and was sentenced in July 2016 to six years behind bars, with three years suspended and to be served on formal probation.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.