CHEYENNE – A man pleaded guilty Monday in Laramie County District Court to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl that he supervised at a former job.
Tanner Michael Lee pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor under 16 (position of authority) as part of a plea agreement.
Lee was visibly emotional during his court appearance, which Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers said showed her how seriously Lee was taking his plea.
The state agreed to dismiss additional charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor (position of authority) and misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to minors at sentencing. Lee initially pleaded not guilty to the three charges in December.
Rogers set Lee’s sentencing for Feb. 17, or a date around that time. The state agreed to cap its sentencing argument at 10 to 12 years in prison. Lee and his attorney can argue for any sentence, including probation.
The second-degree sexual abuse of a minor charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
On Aug. 31, 2020, a Cheyenne Police officer spoke with a teenage girl, who reported Lee had sexually assaulted her in March 2018, when she was 15 years old and Lee was 26, according to court documents. Lee had been the girl’s supervisor at a fast food restaurant.
The girl told officers Lee had given her alcohol at his home and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. Text messages from the girl’s phone confirmed Lee had “molested” the girl, and that he’d said his “animal instincts” took over during the incident, according to court documents.
Also heard Monday:
Seth Michael Hook was sentenced by Judge Rogers to three years of supervised probation, with a suspended sentence of two to five years in prison, for felony possession of a weapon with intent.
Just before his sentencing, Hook pleaded no contest to the charge as part of a plea agreement. Hook’s appointed attorney, public defender Brandon Booth, said the no-contest plea reflected his client’s high level of intoxication during the incident.
The state dismissed a misdemeanor charge of interference with a peace officer (resist).
Hook also agreed to enroll in and successfully complete the Volunteers of America residential substance abuse treatment program in Sheridan.
“I feel sorry for what happened,” Hook said Monday prior to his sentencing. “I know I need help for my drinking.”
On June 28, Hook possessed a knife with the intent to threaten, assault or inflict bodily injury on a man, according to charging documents. Assistant District Attorney Jonah Buckley said during the hearing that Hook had chased the man with a small foldout knife, and that the man had feared for his life.
Hook was also sentenced in a felony marijuana possession case to 18 months of supervised probation, with a suspended sentence of 12 to 24 months in prison, which would run concurrently with the weapon possession sentence.
A misdemeanor charge of driving without a license was dismissed at sentencing, per a plea agreement in the case.
On Feb. 13, Hook was in possession of more than three ounces of marijuana, according to charging documents, which qualifies as a felony in Wyoming.
Daniel Ivan Villafana was sentenced Oct. 25 by Judge Rogers to two consecutive five- to seven-year prison terms for child sex abuse that took place over about a year.
Villafana pleaded guilty in July to two felony counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor as part of a plea agreement. Five additional felony counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor were dismissed at sentencing.
He was given credit for 29 days he served in the Laramie County jail.
On Dec. 5, 2018, a Cheyenne Police officer responded to a report of sexual abuse of a minor. The reporting party said his wife found the victim’s tablet and observed messages that indicated the minor victim was in a relationship, according to court documents. The victim, then 15, said she had been having sexual contact with Villafana, then 28, who was the reporting party’s business partner.
The abuse took place between December 2017 and December 2018, according to court documents.
Maria Christina Pasco Price was sentenced Oct. 21 by Judge Rogers to three years of supervised probation, with a suspended sentence of three to five years in prison.
Price pleaded no contest in March to felony strangulation of a household member, misdemeanor domestic battery (first offense) and misdemeanor interference with a peace officer (resist) as part of a plea agreement.
At 9:39 p.m. Nov. 1, a Cheyenne Police officer responded to a physical domestic disturbance. Price and her husband had been in an argument, during which she grabbed a vacuum cleaner and hit him several times, according to court documents. She repeatedly hit him with a belt, causing “severe injury” and ripping his shirt. At one point, she hit him between the eyes with the belt’s buckle, causing a laceration.
When the man tried to get away, Price wrapped the belt around his neck and “squeezed tight,” preventing him from breathing and causing him to begin losing his vision, according to court documents. The man told officers Price hit him at least 150 times with the belt and the vacuum, and that he couldn’t defend himself because he was weak from a recent surgery and didn’t want to hit his wife. He said he was eventually able to get away “because he knew it was a life-or-death situation.”
The officer observed injuries on the man that were consistent with his story. Price was “very uncooperative” and had to be told several times to stop walking toward her husband and listen to officers, according to court documents. At one point, Price tried to run inside while screaming and was then put in handcuffs and placed in the back of a police vehicle.