Kennewick man pleads guilty to sex crime involving teen

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldNovember 23, 2012 

A Kennewick man admitted that he propositioned a teen boy to perform sex acts, then asked people to get rid of evidence before police could search his home.

J. Jesus Diaz, 46, pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to sexual exploitation of a minor, a felony, and tampering with physical evidence, a misdemeanor.

Sentencing is tentatively set for Dec. 20.

Community corrections officers first must complete a presentencing investigation, which includes Diaz's background and a statement from the victim, because it is a sex crime. Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra told the court that if she receives the report before that date, she will schedule an earlier hearing.

Diaz was arrested Oct. 8 by Kennewick police on the sexual exploitation charge and made an initial appearance in court the following day. He was ordered held without bail on a 72-hour investigative hold.

Diaz -- arrested under the name Jesus Gomez Diaz -- posted bond and was released from the jail at 9:45 p.m. Oct. 11.

He was at his Kennewick home when police picked him up on the tampering charge and booked him back into the jail at 12:26 p.m. Oct. 12. He appeared in Superior Court just 45 minutes later to enter pleas to the two charges.

The sexual exploitation stems from an Oct. 7 incident in which Diaz contacted the teen boy near Fourth Avenue and Olympia Street.

The boy said he had seen Diaz around the area, and Diaz asked if the teen wanted to make some money doing yard work, according to police and court documents. The boy said yes and agreed to go to the man's South Dayton Place home to see what needed to be done, documents said.

At some point, Diaz reportedly asked the boy about sex and if he'd be willing to have sex or perform sexual acts in front of a streaming web camera. Diaz offered to pay the boy $50 for each sex act on the webcam, and an additional $50 for each sexual contact he had with people off camera, court documents said.

The teen declined and was taken back to the parking lot where he met Diaz, police said.

The boy claimed Diaz tried to grab his genitals, but he used a fist to knock away Diaz's hand, documents said. The victim also told officers he was scared for his safety.

Diaz was behind bars when he called two people and told them to remove possible evidence from his house in case police executed a search warrant, both Petra and Diaz told the court at the time of his guilty plea.

Diaz had been in custody on $30,000, but now will be held without bail since he admitted to a sex crime.

He faces two years and seven months to three years and five months in prison for the sexual exploitation, with up to a year in jail on the tampering.

However, his lawyer, Christine Bennett, told the court that the plea agreement included an exceptional sentence below the standard range at one year and four months in prison.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service