Prosecutors Confident Assault Pleas Will Stand

Prosecutors say they’re confident the plea deal that has Anthony Vaughn looking at up to 140 years in prison will hold up. Vaughn wants to take the deal back.

He was accused of sexually assaulting five women over a 10 year period starting in 1999. The deal he reached with prosecutors had him pleading No Contest to two counts of First Degree Sexual Assault, one count of attempted assault and a weapons charge.

Now Vaughn wants to withdraw the plea, blaming it all on his lawyer. Vaughn filed the paperwork himself claiming ineffective counsel.

Prosecutors say it’s not that easy.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said, “The judge spends a lot of time asking if this is a voluntary act on their part, if they’re in the know and understand what they're doing, no one’s forcing them. And if they decide to change their minds, you just don’t get to do that unless there’s some manifest injustice. That’s what the case law says.”

Dragging out cases of sexual assault can be troublesome. It can also give victims something to think about when reporting the crime but officials at the Women’s Center for Advancement say there is support out there.

Elizabeth Power said, “Of course it’s discouraging. However we know that it’s a long road, not a quick fix. It’s a long road of healing for our clients."

Kleine said he doesn’t know why Vaughn is doing this but he said, “Maybe it’s realizing what he’s looking at… how much time.”

A judge will decide on how Vaughn’s request is handled.

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