CLEAR LAKE — A Clear Lake man who originally entered an Alford plea in a sexual abuse case but had that set aside by a district court judge is scheduled to go on trial tomorrow.
61-year-old Amando Montealvo was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse after being accused of sexually abusing two girls under the age of 12 in Clear Lake 13 to 17 years ago. He was sentenced for up to 10 years in prison after entering an Alford plea to one count of lascivious acts with a child as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Montealvo in January 2018 filed a petition in district court for post-conviction relief, claiming that his attorney failed to properly advise him of the consequences of the plea agreement would have on his immigration status. Court documents state that he is in the United States legally but is not a citizen.
District Judge Rustin Davenport this past February ruled that attorney Barbara Westphal did inform Montealvo that he would immediately be removed from the country and that there would be a bar on his legal re-entry if he accepted the plea deal. Davenport says though that Westphal did not advise him that he would be subject to mandatory detention during removal procedures or that he would be subject to 20 years in prison if he attempted to re-enter the United States.
Davenport set Montealvo’s conviction aside but ruled the original charges should be re-instated. Montealvo has opted to take the case to trial rather than re-enter plea negotiations.
Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony, which means if Montealvo is convicted of both charges, he could face up to 50 years in prison.