By Peter H. Milliken
A 36-year-old man was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to interstate transportation of a minor for sex.
David Guevara Sr. drew the 262-month prison term, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, Wednesday from U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko.
Guevara, who pleaded guilty in June 2016, transported a 15-year-old girl from Ohio to Pennsylvania for sex Sept. 30 or Oct. 1, 2015.
The defendant met the girl in July and engaged in sexual activity with her in a tent along the Mahoning River in Youngstown and continued that relationship with her in Philadelphia, the U.S. attorney said.
Guevara told authorities he intended to have a child with her and to take her to Mexico to give birth, according to an affidavit from FBI Agent Herbert D. Fitzgerald Jr.
The girl met Guevara in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he was admitted after he was assaulted July 8, 2015, in the “tent city” under a bridge in downtown Youngstown, according to the affidavit.
The girl ran away from her Youngstown home July 23; and, on July 31, Guevara bought bus tickets for her and for himself to Philadelphia, where he used to be a construction worker.
After being confronted Aug. 1 by a man at the Youngstown bus station, Guevara and the girl fled on foot along train tracks to New Castle, Pa., leaving behind their clothes and belongings and never using those bus tickets, according to the affidavit and Guevara’s written plea agreement.
Guevara then obtained two bus tickets to Philadelphia from a church ministry, and he and the girl had sexual intercourse after they arrived in Philadelphia, the affidavit and plea agreement said.
Police found and detained the girl in Philadelphia and returned her to Youngstown on Oct. 16, with Guevara returning by bus to Youngstown on Oct. 23.
Guevara was booked into Mahoning County jail Dec. 8 on state charges of aggravated trespass, contributing to the unruliness of a minor, obstruction and assault of a minor pertaining to his having snuck into the girl’s residence, where he was found hiding under a bed Nov. 3, the affidavit said.
Guevara had fled from that residence on foot, leaving behind his wallet and cellphone.
The state charges in Boardman court were dropped because of the filing of the federal charge.
The federal case was prosecuted by Ben Gullo, an assistant U.S. attorney, who sought the prison term of 21 years and 10 months, which was the maximum penalty within the federal guideline range, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
Gullo argued in a sentencing memorandum for the long prison term, calling Guevara a drifter with a long criminal history, who exploited a vulnerable 15-year-old from a broken home, and saying the long sentence would be “a meaningful deterrent against potential future offenders.”
Citing his history of mental illness, substance abuse and a host of physical ailments, Guevara’s lawyer, Joseph Gardner of Canfield, asked that his client be sent to a prison medical facility.
Guevara said he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea because he didn’t understand federal sentencing guidelines, but the judge denied that request, saying Guevara “knowingly and voluntarily” entered that plea.
Based on Guevara’s “vast experience” with 21 adult criminal convictions, the judge said Guevara has had considerable “opportunity to understand the ramifications of his guilty plea.”
Besides the FBI, Youngstown and Boardman police and a Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office sergeant investigated this case.