After being convicted by a jury earlier this summer of sexual abuse for groping a woman in a bar, ex-DPS Officer Robb Gary Evans walked out of a Coconino County (AZ) Superior Courtroom on Wednesday morning having been sentenced to two years of probation. Evans received credit for the four days of jail time he served in Coconino County jail.
Prosecutors contended that he drank eight beers and then drove himself to the Green Room, where he flashed his badge in an attempt to get into a concert for free. While inside, he walked up behind the victim, who was a friend of a friend, put his hand up her skirt and then ran his fingers across her genitals.
When bouncers threw him out, Evans told them he was a cop and they would be arrested.
The 43-year-old former Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was facing between six months and 2 1/2 years in prison, but the crime was eligible for probation. He will not be required to register as a sex offender, according to the sentence.
The judge said she considered the defendant’s lack of a criminal record and strong community support in her sentencing.
She also advised the victim to be more vigilant.
BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN IN BARS
A jury convicted Evans of sexual abuse, a class 5 felony, on July 2.
DPS fired Evans shortly after his criminal conviction and following an internal investigation, according to officials.
The judge sentencing Evans, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch, said she hoped both the defendant and the victim would take lessons away from the case.
Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was.
“If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said.
Hatch told the victim and the defendant that no one would be happy with the sentence she gave, but that finding an appropriate sentence was her duty.
“I hope you look at what you’ve been through and try to take something positive out of it,” Hatch said to the victim in court. “You learned a lesson about friendship and you learned a lesson about vulnerability.”
Hatch said that the victim was not to blame in the case, but that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch said that her mother used to say. …
Why the victim needs to change is never explained by Judge Hatch. To his credit, Coconino County Attorney David Rozema is quoted later in the article as saying: “Victims need to feel safe to report and assist prosecution. They bear no responsibility for the actions of those who commit sex crimes against them. Offenders alone must be held accountable.”
(Thanks to Sam Bagenstos for the pointer)