A 66-year-old Carson man convicted by a jury of four counts of criminal sexual penetration against a minor in November may spend the rest of his life incarcerated in a New Mexico State prison.
David W. Lewis appeared before Judge Emilio Chavez in 8th Judicial District Court in Taos Feb. 16 to be read the sentence. On all four counts, the court imposed the maximum period of incarceration, for a total of 51 years.
Lewis maintains the case was based on false allegations submitted by a young woman he said he had been close with, but had never abused.
The teen victim sat in the benches to hear the sentence levied against Lewis, whom she said had abused her sexually when she was between the ages of six and 14.
During the November trial, she explained during an interview that she had become friends with Lewis' children as she grew up in Carson, a small rural community on the mesa west of Taos.
She said that the outcome of the trial was a victory - not only for her - but for the wider Taos County community, citing that "everybody knows who [Lewis] is."
She came forward with her claims of abuse in 2015, and a grand jury indicted Lewis on charges that year.
After numerous delays in processing the case, 8th Judicial District Court Attorney Tim Hasson was able to win the case at a three-day trial that started Oct. 31.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Olsen said this week that "the state and victim are satisfied with the outcome and sentence, removing this sexual predator from the streets of our community."
Olsen said his office believed the trial "gave the victim a voice, and she is to be commended for her strength and courage throughout the criminal prosecution."
Meanwhile, Stephen D. Aarons, Lewis' defense attorney, is seeking a retrial. During the November jury trial, he stated that several character witnesses living in California were unable to testify, creating a hole in the evidence presented to the jury. He is expected to cite that, and possibly other evidence, during a retrial hearing in Raton before Judge Chavez.