Tribal Government & News

(6/4/2020) Former Tribal security guard sentenced on sexual abuse charges

06.04.2020 Danielle Frost Public safety

By Danielle Frost

Smoke Signals staff writer

SALEM – Former longtime Tribal Security employee Juan Jose Sifuentez, 55, has been sentenced to a minimum of 5.5 years in prison before he is eligible to seek parole on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Sifuentez, 55, was arrested by the Salem Police Department on Feb. 7, 2019, and charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He remained in the Marion County Jail until mid-April 2019 when he posted an $8,300 security release.

Sifuentez worked for the Grand Ronde Tribe as supervisor of the new Security Department within the Engineering, Public Works and Facilities Maintenance Department starting in April 2016. Before that, he was a well-known presence on the Grand Ronde Tribal campus, having served as an employee of two previous contracted security firms, ProStar and Advance, for 19 years.

Sifuentez pled guilty to both counts in Marion County Circuit Court on Wednesday, June 3. He also was sentenced to 20 months of post-prison supervision on each count. In addition, his certification to work as a security guard has been suspended by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

According to amended charging documents on file with Marion County Circuit Court, Sifuentez was accused of two incidents of inappropriate touching of a girl younger than 14. The incidents occurred in August 2014.

He was represented by Salem attorney Martin Habekost and will be required to pay $350 in attorney fees.

According to Oregon law, first-degree sexual abuse occurs if the victim is younger than 14 and is subjected to force or is incapable of consent because he or she is mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless. It is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 6 years and 3 months.

As part of a plea negotiation, Sifuentez will be required to serve the 5.5 years with credit for time served in the Marion County Jail. The maximum sentence could have been almost seven years.

Marion County District Attorney’s Office attorney Kylie Kuhns prosecuted the case.